Monday, December 20, 2004

Rebirth of the Day Trader

Party like it's 1999.

According to sources, day traders are getting their feet wet once more. Day traders, "who rapidly buy and sell small chunks of shares throughout a market session," as one writer described them, became a household word during the stock market boom of the 1990s.
Pundits estimated that about 8,000 joined the profession during the go-go days. That is until the crash sent everyone scurrying back to their day jobs...The fiscal bloodbath even resulted in a literal one elsewhere--some of you will recall the tragedy that ensued July 1999, when Mark Barton, a disgruntled day trader from Atlanta, killed his family and nine people at two brokerages after taking a 200K hit.

A report in Reuters recently noted that "a new breed of day trader has emerged...although there are not nearly so many of these investors as the estimated 8,000 that joined the profession in the late 1990s, their influence on the market is growing." Some of the more savvy traders were making up to $30 million a year.Increased trading activity has been a blessing to online trading companies like like Ameritrade Holding Corp, Charles Schwab and E*Trade, which pander to individual investors looking to scrimp on broker's fees. While the gunslingers who killed for pennies in the 90s are far and few, it is safe to say that a lost art is slowly re-breaking out of its cocoon. Go long online brokerages, we say.

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