Issuers rated BBB remained the most prevalent among both global industrial and financial entities at the end of 2013, according to Fitch's 2013 transition and default study. At the end of 2013, 42.8% of global industrials and 35.8% of global financials had a BBB rating, both “modestly up from 2012 distribution levels.”

Among industrial issuers, 62.4% held an investment-grade rating (BBB or higher), while 76.2% of global financial institutions had a rating of BBB or higher.

Fitch said the global default rate fell to 0.51% in 2013 from 0.65% in 2012; and for the second consecutive year, speculative issuers accounted for all defaults during the year.