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Online brokers making waves

Investors are boosting the value of online brokers with a continued rush to trade on the Web--and Schwab and E*Trade are the latest beneficiaries.

Investors are boosting the value of online brokers with a continued rush to trade on the Web. The proof is in the pudding: Charles Schwab's stock leaps, pushing its valuation higher than that of rival Merrill Lynch, while E*Trade says it has signed up more than 500,000 new members since September.

Schwab market cap passes Merrill Lynch
Shares of the biggest online broker jump, pushing its market capitalization ahead of Merrill Lynch on expectations the Net will replace brokers, analysts say.

Net users flock to E*Trade portal
The online brokerage says its new site has signed up more than 500,000 members since September.

Merrill Lynch delays online trading
The largest U.S. brokerage has delayed plans to offer online trading to some of its wealthiest customers until January, according to reports.