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S&P lifts credit rating on Whirlpool

Standard & Poor's Ratings Services upgraded Whirlpool's long-term corporate credit rating one notch to "BBB" from "BBB-," the lowest investment-grade rating. S&P cited an improving economy and stronger housing market. 

The ratings agency also pointed to the appliance maker's growth in emerging markets and lower cost structure.

The company has benefited from better pricing moves, productivity and benefits from cost and factory capacity cuts. The ratings agency also said that Whirlpool has cut costs, trimmed inventory and boosted its profitability in response to tough market conditions in 2011. S&P said these actions helped the company in 2012 and should continue into 2014.

Whirlpool reported 3% earnings growth in 2012, compared with the prior year. Revenue slipped about 3% to $18.14 billion. 

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