Trying to fill what it caled a "research gap" concerning credit risks of derivatives claims, Moody's Investors Service Inc. assigned counterparty ratings Thursday to 276 banks and thrifts.

The ratings ranged from Aaa, for some J.P. Morgan & Co. units, to Caa, for California Federal Bank. The 276 institutions account for virtually all of the derivatives activity of U.S. banks and thrifts.

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