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Judge: Site must delay copy of broker reports

NEW YORK CITY — A judge has ordered a Web site to delay disseminating the recommendations of financial services firms in a ruling likely to affect multiple companies operating on the Internet.

Federal Judge Denise Cote ruled Thursday that Inc. must wait to publish the financial recommendations of Barclays Capital Inc., Merrill Lynch and others. It must wait until 30 minutes after the stock exchange opens, or wait for two hours if the reports are initially released while the market is open.

Cote concluded after a bench trial that the practice of posting recommendations has become a widespread phenomenon.

Cote wrote that it will be up to the financial firms to make sure other companies are not also publishing the recommendations.