Merrill Lynch is joining the scrum to get small investors to buy stock online.
The company, like startup E-Trade and established brokers such as Charles Schwab, is setting up a stock dealing site for consumers to buy and sell stocks for $29.95 a trade.
The Merrill Lynch site will go live later this year and will enable users to purchase mutual funds and bonds as well as securities.
Merrill Lynch, like many other traditional brokers, has been forced to compete with online broker startups who are offering lower fees for Internet trading.
Industry watchers, however, believe that Merrill Lynch will be forced to drop its online fee to attract consumers. E-Trade, for example, only charges $14.95 a trade. Merrill Lynch, however, is adament that consumers will be willing to pay more for the additional services it offers, such as market research.
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