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E*Trade targets offline investors

The Web broker will launch a new ad campaign designed to attract more people to investing on the Net.

E*Trade is looking to rope in more offline investors to its online brokerage.

Tomorrow, the online broker is launching the next phase of its national advertising campaign that seeks to attract offline investors through new television, radio, and print ads.

The campaign is aimed at what it estimates to be 10 to 15 million offline investors who use the Internet solely for investment research purposes.

"Our campaign will focus on customer acquisition through a combination of brand advertising and direct promotions, both online and off-line,'' senior vice president of marketing Jerry Gramaglia, said in a statement.

The ads trumpet E*Trade's ranking as the No. 1 place to invest online for the last two quarters, as measured by Gomez Advisors, which ranks online brokerages.

E*trade's stock edged up 3.375, a 5.95 percent gain, to close at 60.125 today.

The news comes on the heels of yesterday's announcement that the firm has reached 500,000 members at its "Destination E*Trade" site, which launched last September, kicking off its $100 million ad campaign.

Today marked huge gains for several online brokerages. Big movers included National Discount Brokers, up 17.5 - or 125 percent - to close at 31.5 and Siebert Financial, climbing 10.0625 to 17.4375 - a 136.44 percent leap.

Top online brokerage Charles Schwab edged back 4.1875 to 59.4375, a 6.58 percent decline.