Shares of Equifax shed more than 13% of their value in Friday trading, one day after the credit reporting company revealed that personal data on nearly half of all U.S. consumers potentially had been compromised.
The Atlanta-based company said Thursday that about 143 million U.S. consumers could be affected by a cybersecurity attack carried out by suspected criminal hackers. That's about 44% of the U.S population.
Equifax shares closed down $19.49 or nearly 13.7% at $123.23.
Raj Joshi, a Moody's vice president and senior analyst, in a Friday note termed the cyberattack a negative credit factor for Equifax "because it will impede the company's solid earnings growth over the next three to four quarters and hurt its reputation as a custodian of consumer data for over 200 million consumers."
However, Moody's maintained Equifax's Baa1 senior unsecured rating and stable outlook "because we expect the impact of the security breach will only modestly erode" the company's "solid credit metrics and liquidity," wrote Joshi.
The hacking attacks occurred from mid-May through July 2017 and primarily involved names, Social Security numbers, birth dates, addresses and, in some cases, driver's license numbers. Equifax said it first detected the cyberbreach on July 29.
The hackers gained access to credit card numbers for roughly 209,000 consumers, plus certain dispute documents with personal identifying information for approximately 182,000 consumers.