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Last Updated: Monday, 11 August, 2003, 10:42 GMT 11:42 UK
Online share trading 'surges'
Online trading graphic
Online trading is on the up again, according to ComPeer
Online stockbrokers are reporting a recovery in trading as private investors return to the market after 15 months of decline.

A survey by market research group ComPeer recorded a 42% increase in trades between April and June with the number of clients rising to 395,000.

The news means day traders - a symbol of the 1990s stock market bubble - may be returning to the market after disappearing during the recent downturn.

"These are very encouraging figures for the entire industry," said Mark Powell, chairman of the Association of Private Client Investment Managers and Stockbrokers.

Sales up

"There is a growing optimism in the market, while the need to invest for the future becomes even more important for investors," he added.

Between April and June, online trading volumes rose from their year-long plateau of around 500,000 a quarter to hit 700,000.

Such trades also made up more than a third, 34.5%, of all execution-only sales.

The figures are all the more surprising as they come just days after the UK stock exchange said there had been a 13% fall in turnover during June and July.

Cheaper option

Rick Dentith, head of equities at Royal London Asset Management, said more people may taking up online trading as it is cheaper than traditional stock broking.

By going online, many investors are making their own decisions, based on their own research - and so save money by using "execution only" services.

Mr Dentith said: "This is about anybody who's making their own mind up as to what they want to do. They're not taking any other service from a stockbroker.

"I mean, they should be able to deal cheaply if that's what they're doing because they're getting no other service at all."

Business boom?

Barclays Stockbrokers, the UK's biggest execution only retail stockbroker in the UK, says volumes are up by more than 50% since March.

Meanwhile, at high-profile broker TD Waterhouse volumes are up 60-70% "on the lulls of February", the firm said.

But Mr Dentith did say he was cautious about the ComPeer figures as they "start from a very low base".

"Back in 2001 there were millions and millions of people trading online every 10 minutes of the day," he added.

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