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E*TRADE Funds Launches First Online Mutual Fund

E*TRADE Group Inc. Monday officially launched the E*TRADE S&P 500 Index Fund, the first mutual fund to be offered through E*TRADE Funds.

The fund is advised by E*TRADE Asset Management Inc. and distributed by E*TRADE Securities Inc. The company said it is the first mutual fund specifically targeting the online investor. Investors who want to buy fund shares must be E*TRADE customers.

The fund offers competitive expense ratios. Within the Destination E*TRADE Web site, a mini-site will support the fund and will introduce additional funds as they become available.

Launched in November 1997, the E*TRADE Mutual Fund Center features more than 4,300 mutual funds, 900 which are available without transaction fees. In addition, the Mutual Fund Center also offers Power Search, a proprietary screening tool and thousands of online prospectuses and Morningstar research reports.

"E*TRADE Funds gave a great deal of thought to the type of mutual fund offering we wanted to introduce as our first product," said Kathy Levinson, E*Trade's president and chief operating officer.

"Once we narrowed it down to a handful of well-known benchmarks, it became increasingly clear that the S&P 500 was the right decision. We hope our choice will appeal to many investors."

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