The Internet has affected the way we live our lives. It has made the world smaller. Now, information is at a person's fingertips. It has elevated online transactions to greater heights. Goods and services can be purchased online via websites. Book a trip, order a take out, bid at an auction, all in the comfort of your own home.
Financial services have also been improved greatly by the Internet. People no longer needed to queue in banks to affect a transfer, or to go to the nearest automated teller machines. Even stock trading has not escaped this assault by the Internet.
Before, the only way to join the trading bandwagon was engaging the services of a broker and trusting them with your money and stock portfolio. This was both a complicated and harrowing experience for the average Joe. Today, virtually any ordinary person can trade stocks on their own, needing only an account which they can open with their preferred bank and an access point to the Internet. Only their financial
skills and finances can limit them.
Stock information usually limited to business programs in televisions and newsprint are now made available by several sources on the Internet. Large brokering firms now provide stock market reports, tips and forecasts to subscribers for a fee.
Buying and selling stocks can now be made by a trader over the Internet using online exchanges. Banks now offer stock trading online to depositors as a way of investing and growing their money. Between May 1999 to January 2000, the number of US households trading stocks and shares online jumped 30 percent from 2.7 million to 3.5 million.
Investment portfolios had also increased 32 percent from 0,000 to 2,000. Even stock brokers have gone online in the hopes of landing more clients. Already, 466 new online stock trading firms have opened in Sweden, 685 in the UK and 1178 in Germany.
Even the face of the stock market has changed considerably with the entry of Internet-related businesses. Over the years, startup companies providing online services, web content and electronic commerce have also put up their stocks in the market. Companies providing services over the Internet such as online search engines have posted some of the most profitable stocks in recent years.
The effect of the Internet on stock trading over the years has been significant. Now, more than ever before, investors are taking control of their own investments, relying less and less on personal brokers.