Scotiabank questions S&P's cut, citing international reach
* Ratings agency cuts debt on six Canadian financials
* Cites housing-related concerns, worries of riskier assets
* Downgrade follows Moody's warning
* Shares little changed
By Cameron French
TORONTO, Dec 14 (Reuters) - Bank of Nova Scotia, one of Canada's largest banks, took issue on Friday with Standard & Poor's decision to cut its debt ratings, saying its international reach helps cushion it from a slowdown in Canadian lending.
S&P downgraded credit ratings on six Canadian financial institutions late on Thursday, a move that could raise their borrowing costs and crimp profit margins on the loans they make.
In addition to Scotiabank, Canada's No. 3 lender, the credit rating agency lowered ratings on Caisse Centrale Desjardins, a Quebec-based federation of credit unions. Also cut were No. 6 bank National Bank of Canada, Montreal-based Laurentian Bank of Canada, mortgage lender Home Capital Group and Vancouver-based Central 1 credit union.
The downgrade, which follows Moody's Investors Service's move in October to put five top Canadian banks on credit watch, is the latest sign of trouble for a banking industry widely considered the world's soundest. Continued...