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Morningstar Launches Municipal Bond Research

Stocks in this article: MORN

CHICAGO, July 16, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Morningstar, Inc. (NASDAQ: MORN), a leading provider of independent investment research, today launched analyst research on 100 municipal obligors and bond reports for approximately 1 million municipal bonds.

Morningstar's fundamental municipal research is designed to assess relative credit quality and fiscal distress using a proprietary, analyst-driven methodology. Morningstar analysts evaluate each obligor through four key pillars: Economic Stability, Financial Condition, Debt and Long-Term Liabilities, and Management and Operating Environment. Analysts then assign a score of Good, Fair, or Poor to each pillar, and the pillars contribute to an overall score for each obligor. The initial coverage list includes large bond issuers among states, local governments, and enterprise-like entities such as water, sewer, and power authorities, airports, and higher education. The bond reports provide economic and demographic information related to each bond issuer, as well as pricing analytics and key bond-level information.

Haywood Kelly, senior vice president of equity and credit research for Morningstar, said, "The municipal bond asset class is large and opaque, and individual investors own about 60 percent of the market. Our aim is to provide greater transparency for investors, offer actionable and timely analysis, and equip financial advisors with information and tools to help them judge the relative value of municipal bonds and to make better informed investment decisions for their clients."

Morningstar analysts update the reports as market events warrant, or with the annual release of the obligor's audited financial statement. The bond reports are updated daily with the latest trade information, and the financial, economic, and demographic data is updated as soon as new information is available.

Morningstar's municipal bond research is available as an additional module in Morningstar Analyst Research Center, a research platform for broker-dealers and independent financial advisors. The Morningstar Analyst Research Center provides web-based access to Morningstar's suite of research for stocks, corporate bonds, mutual funds, exchange-traded funds, and initial public offerings. Independent advisors can subscribe to Morningstar's research for any of the investment types they choose. Firms may also purchase enterprise-wide licenses for the portal. More information about the Analyst Research Center is available at http://corporate.morningstar.com/us/asp/subject.aspx?xmlfile=6724.xml. The research will also be available as an additional module in Morningstar ® Advisor Workstation(SM).

Morningstar launched corporate credit research and ratings in late 2009, and is now launching municipal research to round out its research offerings to fixed-income investors.

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