S&P downgrades France - by mistake

Standard & Poor's prompted calls of zut-alors!, and probably other more colorful remarks, after it mistakenly sent an alert in November saying it had changed France's AAA credit rating.

The ratings agency quickly clarified that the message was sent in error, citing technical difficulties.

The gaffe hit a raw nerve for many in France, which is widely seen as the most likely candidate to lose its AAA status. Earlier this month, France and most other euro area nations were placed on review for a possible downgrade by the S&P. For now, France's AAA rating remains intact. -- Ben Rooney

@CNNMoney - Last updated December 20 2011: 1:40 PM ET
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