E*Trade One-Ups a Rival

Let’s see, the Dow is below 8,000, Nasdaq is bouncing around 1,200 and you don’t hear the words “day trader” much at cocktail parties these days. That may be one of the reasons E*Trade Securities is marketing a new $9.99 flat commission offering.

And, the new trading commission rate positions Menlo Park, Calif.-based E*Trade below rival Ameritrade, which as a result of its merger with Datek, is moving the new company’s pricing to $10.99 a trade.

E*Trade’s new marketing campaign pitches active traders on the “Power of 9.” What that means is a 9-second trade-execution guarantee on qualified stock trades for $9.99.

The rate is available to any customer averaging nine or more trades per month (a minimum of 27 trades per quarter). Previously, only active trader customers who made 75 or more trades per
quarter received the $9.99 rate. The 9-second execution guarantee is expected to launch on Oct. 31.

“In this economy, we believe that a simple, low-cost commission schedule, combined with superior execution quality, is essential,” said Jarrett Lilien, president of E*Trade Securities.

Ironically, Omaha, Nebr.-based Ameritrade is going the other way — although it is continuing its “Ameritrade 10-Second Guarantee,” its $8 trade for market orders will soon be a bit of Internet history.

The company said that beginning Oct. 19, the commission for online equity trades will be a flat $10.99, for both market and limit orders, regardless of the number of shares bought or sold with no additional order handling fees.

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