Investment research provider Morningstar started publishing credit ratings for about 100 of the largest U.S. companies.

Over the next year, it plans to produce credit ratings for up to 1,000 companies currently covered by its equity analyst team. In a release this morning, the research firm said that the ratings are available for free at Morningstar.com, its investment Web site. The forecasts and scores underlying the ratings can be accessed by institutional equity research clients.

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