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S&P Gets Edge With ETF Rankings

Standard & Poor's is releasing its first exchange traded fund ranking reports at the end of this month, covering the performance, risk and cost factors of the individual holdings. The new service has been in the works since June (WSL, 6/17). Since ETFs debuted 10 years ago, no major research firms have ever produced overall rankings on ETFs. S&P will be selling the new service to brokerages and the buyside with the equity rankings, said Steve Biggar, global director of equity research.

This service will help S&P stand out among research providers because wirehouses aren't following suit so far. "ETF analysis is very important for retail and it is less important for institutional investors. The bulge brackets won't follow suit," said Sandy Bragg, president of Integrity Research Associates, an independent research consultancy. S&P's client base is primarily retail. Merrill Lynch said no plans for an ETF service were in the works. By 2010, the number of ETFs is expected to reach 2,000 with an overall value of $2 trillion, according to Morgan Stanley research. 

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