Banc of America Securities initiated coverage of six brokers Friday with “buy” ratings on two companies even as some in the sector struggle to cut costs while market volatility and a weakening economy prompt a slowdown in retail investing.

TD Waterhouse Group, a broker mostly owned by Toronto-Dominion Bank, and Knight Trading Group each got buy ratings. Four other companies — CSFBdirect, Ameritrade Holding Corp., E-Trade Group, and Charles Schwab Corp. — were rated “market perform.” Analyst Robert Sobhani, who joined the Bank of America Corp. unit in October from Salomon Smith Barney, said that he is generally bullish on the online brokerage sector’s long-term outlook.

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