Shares of online trading house E*Trade Group Inc were hammered again Tuesday, falling $2.75, or 9.4%, to $26.50 amid increased pricing pressure from competitors. Tuesday’s fall compounded the damage done on Monday, when E*Trade sank $3.50, or 8%. Other trading firms such as Ameritrade, Quick & Reilly and Suretrade have been steadily undercutting E*Trade’s standard $15 transaction fee, with the latest prices congregating at around $8 per trade. In addition, top-tier firms such as Fidelity Investments are entering the online trading arena. Although analysts at Deutsche Morgan Grenfell figure that online trading prices have declined 40% in the past year, E*Trade has maintained its $15 fee, which DMG sees as becoming the midpoint in a market that is segmenting into low, middle and high ends. Although pricing pressures may have shaken Wall Street, E*Trade appears to have lost no steam in signing new accounts, bagging nearly 1,200 accounts with $32m in assets two weeks ago on the day Wall Street’s record falls. More announcements are expected that will accelerate account growth even more. The company announced on Tuesday that it has completed its first acquisition (see related story). Last week, the company launched its online mutual fund trading service (CI No 3,282). DMG sees a $30 price as attractive before the announcements become public.
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