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S&P downgrades Berkshire Hathaway rating

NEW YORK (AP) -- Standard & Poor's Ratings Services cut a major rating for Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway.

The ratings agency dropped its investment-grade counterparty credit rating for the Omaha-based company by one notch to "AA" from "AA+."

S&P says the move better reflects Berkshire Hathaway Inc.'s dependence on its core insurance operations for most of its dividend income.

Significantly, it noted that "management succession at BRK is also an offsetting factor." Berkshire has picked a successor for the 82-year-old Buffett, but has not made the name of the person public.

S&P says the investment firm's non-insurance businesses generate most of its operating income, but aside from the insurance subsidiaries only Burlington Northern Santa Fe LLC has provided a significant part of its total dividends. The outlook on all of the ratings is negative.