INVESTORS RUSH THE NET

CONSUMERS ARE DROPPING TRADITIONAL BROKERS FOR THE INTERNET, WHERE STOCKS CAN BE TRADED ON THE CHEAP

Jim Pelkey used to call his broker frantically the moment he heard breaking news about a company whose stock he wished to buy. A small investor by Wall Street's measure, Pelkey often had to try several times before getting through, hoping, in the meantime, that the stock wouldn't cool by the time his broker placed the order. For this the Cupertino, California, resident paid a commission of around $70 a trade.

But that changed after he opened an account with an electronic brokerage service called E*TRADE Securities www.etrade.com) which uses the Internet, rather than a traditional broker, to buy...

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