In a new indication of how the stock market is coping with the diversification of big financial companies, A.G. Edwards & Sons Inc. analyst Diana Yates expanded her coverage to include Goldman Sachs Group Inc., Merrill Lynch & Co. Inc., and Morgan Stanley Dean Witter & Co.

Perhaps more interesting than her initial rankings - Morgan and Merrill netted "accumulate" ratings while Goldman was ranked a "maintain" - was the rationale behind the additions to Ms. Yates' coverage universe and her reasoning for giving the two retail powers the nod over Goldman. Ms. Yates said the new companies "bring more diversified financials into my group," adding that it "makes sense to get the full picture."

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