Rating risk occurs whenever a business is given a number to either achieve or maintain. Every business has a very important number as far as its credit rating goes. The credit rating directly affects the price a business will pay for financing. However, publicly traded companies have another number that matters as much as, if not more than, the credit rating. That number is the analyst’s rating.
Any changes to the analysts rating on a stock seem to have an outsized psychological impact on the market. These shifts in ratings, whether negative or positive, often cause swings far larger than is justified by the events that led the analysts to adjust their ratings.