For those afflicted with interest-rate fever, the past two weeks of earnings reports were a loud reminder that credit quality is still — and likely to be for some time — a downer.

And the list of those whose earnings buckled under higher loss provisioning and more problem credits was not confined to the arrangers of big syndicated loans. Milwaukee-based Firstar Corp., which has been considered a safe haven from credit quality problems because of its low profile in national syndicated lending, experienced an investor backlash when it revealed $100 million in nonperforming loans. The following day several analysts downgraded the company’s stock, and its share price fell 3.27%, to $22.1875.

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