WALL STREET: April Fool for Small Trades

A subject of speculation for months.

Wall Street's experiment to woo back small investors with competitive commissions arrived last week—on little cat feet. The Securities and Exchange Commission ordered that, beginning April 1, brokers who are members of the New York or American Stock Exchange must substitute flexible rates for their old fixed commissions on trades under $2,000. The idea is to get more firms to vie vigorously for small transactions and to give customers of modest means a saving on trading costs. Yet, reflecting the caution of the ailing securities industry, the...

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