Online Financial Supermarkets? Don't Bet On 'Em

Big brokers would love nothing better, but consumers aren't likely to bite

At E*Trade's Web site, you can buy shares in initial public offerings, do your banking, and get a 5% discount on a bottle of Le Parfum de Golf. At the American Express Co. site, you can pay your charge-card bill, trade stock, and book a flight to Kiev or Kuala Lumpur. Merrill Lynch & Co.'s will soon have $29.95 stock trades, videos featuring Merrill market mavens, and an auction for diamond earrings.

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