Financial News Services Grow along with Mexican Economy MEXICO

Article excerpt

ENRIQUE QUINTANA taps his electronic mouse.

Seconds later, the "Rumors" window opens on the computer screen to reveal a juicy financial morsel: Business mogul Carlos Hank Rhon may be selling his 58.13 percent stake in Banca Cremi. At least, that's the buzz on the floor of the Mexican Stock Exchange.

Rumors is one of the more intriguing sections of Informacion Selectiva (InfoSel). This unique Mexican electronic financial news service was started in late 1990 by El Norte, a Monterrey-based newspaper that many analysts consider to be Mexico's best independent daily in a country where the majority of newspapers are government supported.

To date, InfoSel stands essentially alone in a market with a voracious appetite for Mexican business news. InfoSel is similar to services found in the United States such as Citibank's Global and Dow Jones's Telerate. Other financial and media firms here are planning similar news services, but only a few have gotten off the ground and none yet have the breadth of information available from InfoSel.

"For international information, we rely on Reuters. But for live domestic-market information, rumors, and quarterly reports, Infosel is unquestionably the best. And for a very good price everyone can access it on their own computers," says Gabriel Loaiza, director of analysis for Baring Research, a subsidiary of Baring Securities.

For $600 a month, InfoSel gives real-time stock quotes from the Mexican Bolsa, continually updated corporate and financial news services, corporate analysis, money market prices, short news items from newspapers (USA Today, the Wall Street Journal, Financial Times, etc.), story summaries from major Mexican dailies, quarterly corporate reports, statistical economic databases, and a electronic messenger service.

InfoSel has 16 corporate analysts, plus four of its own reporters. But it also shares information, reporters, and office space with its parent, El Norte.

With minimal promotion, 1,000 clients - mostly stock brokers, corporations, banks, and government financial offices - have signed up for the Spanish-language service. Another 1,000 new subscribers are expected this year. About 50 clients reside in the US. An English-language service is foreseen, but no date has been set.

"The demand is huge. We have almost no competition," says Mr. Quintana, co-editor of InfoSel.

"Until now, only a small group of people within the stock exchange had access to this information. …