If you were to judge Morningstar's (NASDAQ:MORN) IPO yesterday based on the company's popular five-star rating system, it would probably have earned a respectable four stars. After all, while some had expected the offering from the mutual fund and stock analysis specialist to be priced at the lower end of its initial range of $16 to $19 a share, demand was strong. Ultimately tagged at $18.50, it provided a welcome contrast to the last popular auction-based offering, when Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) had to settle for an $85 market debut instead of a hoped-for $105-plus.

Also to Morningstar's credit, the IPO was well-received in the market. Back in March, Bank of Internet (NASDAQ:BOFI) was priced at $11.50 through the same OpenIPO Dutch auction format and finished its first day of trading at, yes, $11.50. The next three trading days found Bank of Internet's stock closing at $11.50, $11.52, and $11.50.

Boring? Consistent? Given the nature of auction-related offerings -- where new shares are allocated based on bid price and demand, not practically given away to prized customer accounts and institutional investors -- price pops are rare. Yes, Google has had a great run since going public in August, but it earned it every tick with favorable earnings surprises along the way.

Morningstar's publicly traded life began at $18.66 yesterday and inched higher throughout the day to close at $20.05. The shares being sold are coming in the form of an exit strategy for early investor Softbank, but even though the company won't be pocketing the offering's proceeds, Morningstar is still in pretty decent shape these days.

Last year, the company saw its revenues climb by 29% to hit $179.7 million while earnings of $8.8 million reversed a loss in 2003. So it shouldn't come as much of a surprise that the same market that chewed up Bank of Internet earlier this year and spat it out as bland (its stock trades at a 17% discount to its March IPO price) has taken a shine to Morningstar.

It certainly doesn't hurt that the market is hungry for providers of financial analysis with a strong online presence. Dow Jones (NYSE:DJ) has acquired MarketWatch, and TheStreet.com (NASDAQ:TSCM) put itself in play when it hired an investment banker to explore "strategic alternatives" back in January.

Yes, now trading at 80 times last year's earnings, Morningstar may not seem cheap, but if the top line continues to grow aggressively and net margins improve, that P/E multiple will shrink in a hurry. Just as importantly, Dow Jones paid seven times trailing revenues for MarketWatch while Morningstar came to market at just four times revenues.

Even though we here at Fool.com compete with Morningstar in many ways, we are pleased to congratulate the company on an IPO well done, regulatory speed bumps and all.

You should be pleased, too. A decade ago, there were just two distinctive voices whispering words of encouragement to the individual investor. Morningstar was empowering mutual fund investors, while we were demystifying the stock market. Well, some bright individuals like Peter Lynch and Warren Buffett were also banging the same drum -- but they didn't go public yesterday, OK?

Good luck, Morningstar.

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Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz believes that mutual funds are an important part of any stock portfolio. He does not own shares in any of the companies mentioned in this story. The Fool has a disclosure policy. He is also part of the Rule Breakers newsletter research team, seeking out tomorrow's ultimate growth stocks a day early.