Tough year ahead for U.S. states, local govts: Moody's

CHICAGO (Reuters) - U.S. states and local governments are facing their toughest year so far, as rating downgrades continue to outpace upgrades, Moody's Investors Service said on Tuesday.

The first quarter of 2011 marked the ninth consecutive quarter in which downgrades dominated, according to the rating agency.

"With negative outlooks assigned to all major municipal sectors, the trend is likely to prevail for all of 2011," said Conor McEachern, a Moody's assistant vice president, in a statement.

(Reporting by Karen Pierog; Editing by James Dalgleish)