The inability of analysts to forecast anything amazes me. Analysts, much like academics, tend to approach their research from a scientific method. They amass the data and then come to a conclusion. This is all well and good except when your research is based on a system that discounts future events. Spain has been involved in a financial nightmare for nearly two years now. Their housing bubble was actually one of the first to implode over 18 months ago. Consumer debt levels in Spain have been extraordinarily high for years. Yet, the credit ratings firms are only just considering downgrading the country’s debt. Obviously, the Spanish stock market has been discounting this weakness for well over 2 years. What good is it to come out with credit downgrades this late in the cycle? More than likely, Spain’s credit will improve (compared to where it is now) over the course of the next 5 years and the credit rating firms will come back at the top of the cycle and smack a AAA rating on their debt. Rinse, wash, repeat. I’d like to see these firms dragged in front of congress….