Morningstar Inc. has added analyst reports on 1 million bonds issued by states, municipalities and other public entities to its research database.

Morningstar's municipal research, consisting of information on about 100 public issuers, is designed to assess the relative credit quality and fiscal distress of the issuers. It is similar to a corporate bond database Morningstar launched in 2009.

The new research, according to Morningstar, evaluates each bond issuer by economic stability, financial condition, debt and long-term liability, and management and operating environment. The areas are rated good, fair or poor and then used to calculate an overall score.

The list of bond issuers includes states, local governments, utility authorities, airports and colleges, according to Morningstar. The bond reports provide economic and demographic information related to each bond issuer, as well as pricing analytics and key bond-level information, according to Morningstar.

"The municipal bond asset class is large and opaque, and individual investors own about 60% of the market," said Haywood Kelly, senior vice president of equity and credit research for Morningstar. "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 these bonds and to make better informed investment decisions for their clients."

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

The municipal bond research is available as a module in the Morningstar Analyst Research Center, a platform for broker-dealers and independent financial advisors.

-Karen DeMasters