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Fitch Ratings upgraded Cardinal Health and gave a positive outlook Thursday, citing the health care products distributor's leverage.

Fitch upgraded the issuer default rating, unsecured bank debt, and senior unsecured debt to 'BBB+' from 'BBB', both of which are the same lower medium grade ratings. The ratings apply to approximately $2.13 billion of debt.

Fitch said the rating action is supported by Cardinal Health's ability to reduce leverage during a transition period after it spun off its CareFusion unit in 2009.

The company paid about $1.5 billion in debt.

Fitch said Cardinal Health is expected to operate with lower margins that are consistent with a drug distribution business model.

Shares of Cardinal Health Inc. fell 34 cents to $31.13 in afternoon trading.

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