Online Or Off, The Rules Are The Same

The Web hasn't changed the fundamentals of smart investing

Low-cost online trading has opened the world of equities to millions of people who might not have otherwise considered playing the stock market. More than half of American households now own stocks, and about one-fifth of them made their first investment during the past four years, when online trading became a national pastime. But investors haven't always jumped in with sufficient knowledge. "The lure of online trading seems to be that here is something you can do with no skill, no knowledge, and yet you can make tons of money," says Meir Statman, chairman of the finance department at Santa Clara University's Leavey School of Business.

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