The U.S. government's initiatives to inject new liquidity into lending for commercial real estate hit a new, powerful and unexpected stumbling block when Standard & Poor's put out a warning this week that it may well downgrade billions of dollars of CMBS issues that today carry triple-A ratings. When federal money from the Term Asset-Backed Securities Loan Facility, TALF, is used to finance CMBS investments, it is restricted to securities with triple-A ratings.

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