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Is Your Online Broker Any Good?

AS ONLINE STOCK TRADING BECOMES INCREASINGLY POPULAR, investors have had one nagging concern: If trading activity surges, will my broker become too overloaded to handle my trades?

Now, Keynote Systems Inc. is offering a way for investors to find the best-performing online brokers. Starting in mid-December, the San Mateo (Calif.) company began ranking brokers on two factors: how long it takes to download pages from their Web sites and what percentage of the time the sites are available. The research is data-intensive: Keynote samples 20 sites from 50 different locations every 15 minutes. ''What we're measuring is how well a site is constructed,'' says Umang Gupta, Keynote's chairman and chief executive.

The early results may be a bit of a shock. Some of the most popular online brokers, notably Charles Schwab and E*Trade Securities, have been among the worst-performing, while the top-rated ones tend to be lesser-known brokers, such as Web Street Securities and Mr. Stock.



EDITED BY PETER ELSTROM



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Updated Jan. 7, 1999 by bwwebmaster
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