Update 4:37 p.m.: S&P has confirmed that it will review 15 European nations for a downgrade. You can read their official release here.
Ratings agency Standard & Poor's will put all 17 Euro Zone nations on downgrade watch, reports Bloomberg. The news comes after a day of reports that European leaders are taking new steps to avoid a financial crisis and as markets put pressure on them to act. The New York Times reports today that French President Nicolas Sarkozy and German Chancellor Angela Merkel have finally advocated for some amendments to the European Union's governing structure to avoid financial crises like the one they now face. And the IMF announced it would provide 2.2 Billion Euros to the Greek rescue fund. Some watchers seemed to think downgrading 17 nations, including AAA -rated countries like Germany, would be, well, a lot of nations. ("Downgrade the WORLD!!," joked one Twitter user.) But as The Times's Steven Erlanger notes, there's a lot riding on Europe's leaders these days:
The emerging solution is being negotiated under great pressure from the markets, the banks, the voters and the Obama administration, which wants an end to the uncertainty about the euro that is dragging down the global economy.
Thus it feels like S&P's downgrade warning is only adding to the chorus of those pointing out the direness of Europe's situation. We're sure Europe thanks you for pointing it out, S&P.