Fast-Growing Web Sector Offers Virtual Seat at Stock Exchanges
Szadkowski, Joseph, The Washington Times (Washington, DC)
Web sites that report stock market information make up one of the fastest-growing segments of information resources on the Internet. Whether a user's portfolio contains a few stocks or a few hundred, the World Wide Web grants access to the type of information that allows him or her to assume a virtual seat at the stock exchange.
"There are millions of investors who want and need this type of information," said Chris Hill, spokesman for Motley-Fool (www.fool.com) in Alexandria. "In terms of the type of people who are investing, being able to receive this information, along with the ability to make low-cost investments through on-line discount brokers, the demographic [of investors] is widening."
Those who click into the financial on-line magazines, or e-zines, can find information from the most basic financial planning to focused market data that include the subtle ups and downs of the volatile Wall Street.
Some sites allow users to log in and check specific stocks, while others provide the ability to create a password-protected area where an individual can input and monitor a personal portfolio.
"What the person on line can find free today would have cost hundreds of dollars in the recent past through more traditional means," Mr. Hill said.
For the average investor, "delayed" stock quotes that are usually anywhere from 20 minutes to several hours old on most free sites, are often adequate.
"There is a lot of talk about `delayed' versus `real time' reports on changes in the market," Mr. Hill said. "For what we term `daily traders,' individuals who are buying and selling stocks with a quick turnaround, the ability to monitor how a stock is moving can be important. For the average investor, an individual who has made long-term investments into a stock or portfolio, the by-minute ups and downs are not as crucial."
A second level of Internet market information can be found at Freerealtime.com (www.freerealtime.com). This free site, run by First International Financial Corp. of Calgary, Alberta, and designed for the investor who has an established portfolio, focuses on daily market movement.
"We find that typically, the average user of Freerealtime.com is someone with a small to medium stake in the stock market," said Stuart Robson, vice president of marketing and business development for First International.
And "where we find that a lot of the users on Freerealtime.com are well beyond being novice investors, most are not making a living off the market," he said. "It is interesting to note though that one of our daily users is a trader on the New York Stock Exchange."
More than 50,000 registered users click onto Freerealtime.com each day. Users can monitor their own stock list, get live quotes direct from the NYSE, NASDAQ and AMEX stock exchanges and find out all the current, up-to-date market news.
For quick access to stock quote information, browsers may also want to visit any of the commercial search engines such as Yahoo (www.yahoo.com) or Excite (www.excite.com). Both offer stock information, including the ability to search a company's symbol to receive recent quote information and daily trading data for the stock, along with links to news articles concerning the commodity, company profile snapshots and other market information.
Internet and stock market watchers are also seeing a growth in subscription-based services that, on average, range from a monthly fee of $20 to $50.
While subscription sites duplicate much of the day-to-day news and information found on free sites, the big difference comes about through advanced services and technologies for portfolio management. …