One of the thorniest challenges for midsize companies in recent years has been obtaining analyst coverage. More companies have lost the analyst coverage that helps them attract new investors as brokerage firms cut their budgets and laid off staff.

In an effort to fill that void, Nasdaq OMX is expanding an arrangement with Morningstar, the Chicago investment research firm, to allow the companies listed on the exchange to obtain analyst coverage from Morningstar.

Last June, the New York-based exchange struck an initial deal with Morningstar under which Morningstar provided basic reports on all the companies listed on Nasdaq. The companies did not pay for the reports. Now Nasdaq companies can get fuller coverage from Morningstar that includes a comprehensive initial report and at least three updates. Companies will contract with, and pay, Nasdaq for the research; one year costs $20,000, two years $36,000 and three years $48,000. Nasdaq says 11 member companies, including Famous Dave's of America and Integrated Silicon Solutions, have signed up for coverage.

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