MENLO PARK, Calif. — E-Trade Group Inc., a discount brokerage firm, said it will begin underwriting bonds, including municipal and corporate debt, in an effort to hold on to investors leery of the equity market.

The move was reported by Reuters on Friday and would follow a recently announced plan by Charles Schwab & Co. to underwrite municipal debt. Both brokers are feeling the pinch as investors shun the volatile stock market.

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