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NEW YORK (AP) _ Standard & Poor's said Friday it lowered the credit rating of The Walt Disney Company one notch because of worries the media giant's earnings will be crimped for at least a year.

The securities rating agency said it downgraded Disney's long-term corporate credit to triple-B-plus from single-A-minus because of expectations that earnings will ``recover more gradually than management's previous guidance had indicated.''

Earlier this week, Disney Chairman and Chief Executive Michael Eisner said the Burbank, Calif., company should see ``strong, double digit'' growth in earnings per share in fiscal 2003.

The credit-rating downgrade brings the company's long-term bonds down to medium investment quality from high-medium investment quality, with a higher element of risk.

The move follows an Aug. 26 downgrade by Fitch Investors Service, Inc. of Disney's senior unsecured debt to triple-B-plus from single-A-minus.

Disney has said the economic downturn and lingering effects of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks contributed to a drop in visitation at its theme parks. And its ABC Television Network struggled with poor ratings last season, which cut into advertising revenue.

Disney, with revenue of $25.3 billion last year, said the S&P downgrade reflects ``short-term'' business conditions.

On Friday, shares of Disney closed at $15.05, down nearly 6 percent, or 95 cents, on the New York Stock Exchange.