By Colin Barr
January 6, 2011

In the nothing succeeds like failure department, Moody’s is up 7% today on news that it cashed in big time on Wall Street’s fourth-quarter bond-peddling boom.

Moody’s (mco) raised its 2010 earnings forecast by 9%, citing “robust fourth quarter bond market issuance benefiting Moody’s Investors Service, and accelerated completion of software projects for customers of Moody’s Analytics.”

With Thursday’s rally, both Moody’s and McGraw-Hill (mhp), the operator of the rival rating agency Standard & Poor’s, are within $2 of their 52-week highs.

The run-up comes on the very day ProPublica published a timely reminder of why the market doesn’t trust these guys, yet is powerless to do anything about it.

S&P recently admitted it botched the ratings for more than a thousand mortgage-related securities issues. But despite the efforts of financial reformers and regulators, investors remain just as tied to the firms’ ratings as ever.

Heartwarmingly, this allows them — like so many feckless Wall Street types — to continue cashing in even as the economy remains on its back. That one never gets old, does it.

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