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Standard & Poor's hikes Greek rating by 6 notches

ATHENS, Greece (AP) -- Standard & Poor's ratings agency has raised Greece's credit grade by 6 notches to B-, yanking the debt-heavy country out of default but still keeping its devalued bonds in the junk zone.

The agency said Tuesday that the upgrade reflected its view that the other 16 European Union countries using the euro are determined to keep Greece inside the currency union.

It gave Greece a stable outlook, meaning it will not consider ratings changes in coming months.

S&P recently downgraded Greece to the bottom of its ratings scale after the country announced a debt buyback financed by its European partners. The purchase was successfully completed last week, and will reduce the country's debt by some (euro) 20 billion ($26.4 billion).

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