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New tool for the trade

Microsoft Investor 2.0 lets users trade stocks and manage their portfolios on the Internet.

Microsoft (MSFT) today unveiled its Internet stock trading tool, Microsoft Investor 2.0, adding enhanced portfolio management capabilities to the beta version that has been available since summer.

The product, which can be downloaded free of charge starting today from Microsoft's Investor site, allows Netizens to trade stocks and manage their portfolios directly. The tool is also wired into the brokerage firm Charles Schwab & Company's Web site, in case investors need some professional advice. By year's end, the tool will also link to Fidelity Investments' site, Microsoft said.

The company has improved its Portfolio Manager, which lets users create and then track several stock portfolios at once, check prices, build charts to map performance, and get breaking business news. The news comes from PR Newswire, BusinessWire, and MSNBC, Microsoft's online venture with the NBC television network. Its market summary feature allows users to read the most recent news on markets and currency rates and lists the best- and worst-performing stocks. It also has a ticker that displays a stream of stock quotes and news headlines.

Investor 2.0 uses the Redmond, Washington-based company's ActiveX technology and can be customized to user interests. Stock information can be automatically fitted into the company's Excel spreadsheet format and integrated with the company's Microsoft Money, the company said.