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For the first time since the US won the top ranking in 1917, the rating agency Standard & Poor's downgrades country's AAA sovereign credit rating to AA+, a development which raises concerns that investors will lose confidence in its economy.

The Senate has approved an emergency bill to avert a first-ever government default with just hours to spare.
The scrip, which opened at 14.59 Australian dollars, lost momentum and soon fell 7.58 per cent to touch an intra-day low of 13.65 Australian dollars.