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Pacific Crest says Ameritrade's (AMTD
) 39,000 new accounts are lower than expected.
Analyst Tim Butler says he was looking for
59,000 new accounts. He notes this is the second consecutive month that account growth slowed. He adds that February average daily trading activity
fell 13% sequentially.
Butler says online brokerage stocks are unlikely to
show meaningful appreciation until economic visibility improves,
which is not likely until early 2002. In other words, these stocks
could "flat-line" or trend downward until catalysts emerge that
can move the Nasdaq index higher, restore the confidence of individual investors and encourage more active trading behavior.