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Ameritrade announces stock split

The online brokerage becomes the latest Internet company to declare a 2-for-1 stock split.

Online brokerage Ameritrade today became the latest Internet company to declare a 2-for-1 stock split--a reminder of the sharp run-up Net stocks have seen lately.

Ameritrade's stock closed the day up more than 5 percent, at 36.0625. The shares have traded as high as 40.375 and as low as 14.8906 during the past 52 weeks.

Companies including Yahoo, Excite, Amazon.com, K-Tel, and Lycos have declared stock splits this year, as Internet stocks have skyrocketed.

"Our stock price has more than doubled since our initial public offering in March 1997, reflecting our dramatic growth," Ameritrade chief executive Joe Ricketts said in a statement. "The online discount brokerage industry is in a phenomenal growth stage."

The split involves Ameritrade's Class A and Class B common stock. Shareholders of record as of August 7 will receive, in the form of a stock dividend, one additional share for each share they hold. The stock will begin trading at the post-split value on August 18, the company said.

Upon completion of the split, Ameritrade will have about 29 million shares of common stock outstanding.