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S&P raises Tyson Foods credit rating

NEW YORK (AP) -- Standard & Poor's Ratings Services raised its rating on Tyson Foods Inc. Monday, saying Tyson's credit is improving as poultry prices rise and the company repays more debt.

The firm raised its rating on Tyson shares to 'BBB' from 'BBB-'. The new rating, which is two notches above "junk" status, applies to about $2.4 billion in debt held by the Springdale, Ark., company. Analyst Chris Johnson expects results from the company's beef business to remain weak, but said better poultry prices and debt repayment will help keep the company's credit measures from declining.

Tyson is the largest U.S. meat company. Its shares fell 14 cents to close at $23.64 on Monday, but the stock is up 40 percent since Tyson reported its fiscal fourth-quarter results on Feb. 1. The stock is currently trading around its highest prices in more than five years.