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Monday, August 16, 1999 Published at 19:45 GMT 20:45 UK

Business: The Economy

Rush for UK 'day trading'

Amateur investors will have the same information as professionals

Would-be shares investors flooded the phone lines of a stockbroker which has set up in the UK offering controversial "day trading".

Under day trading, members of the public can buy and sell shares directly, using their own computer, rather than through brokers. They have access to the facilities that professional traders have, such as bidding and asking prices available.

[ image: Professional traders use their experience to make money]
Professional traders use their experience to make money
In the US, the industry has come under fire for stressing the potential gains - but not the pitfalls, and a recent report found that seven out of ten day traders lose money.

InvestIN Securities is allowing people in the UK to open accounts to trade on the US markets using the Internet.

After its first day, the company said its phone lines were "red-hot" with potential investors wanting to open accounts.

Customers can gain access to the markets by opening an account with InvestIN of at least $10,000.

In London, day traders will not be able to operate on borrowed money or if they have less than $1,500 in their account.

Trade 'to snowball'

But an InvestIN spokesman said they were expecting the business to snowball over the coming weeks.

He said: "The US markets are more attractive than the UK's and we are sure this will help the business grow."

Day trading has become a phenomenon in the US, fuelled by booming asset prices, low interest rates, the revolution in technology and the growth of the Internet.

Thousands of Americans have given up their jobs to become full-time investors.

But last week, US regulators warned of the dangers of day trading, describing it as gambling rather than dealing.

Last month a day trader in Atlanta killed nine people at two firms where he had lost more than $120,000.

In the UK, the Financial Services Authority is urgently reviewing day trading to decide whether it needs to tighten regulations.

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