Dow 10,000 Is Little Noted Among Online Brokers

The big blue-chip milestone brought no special surge of trading. But E*Trade has a Dow 10,000 promotion planned for tomorrow.
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Dow 10,000

was greeted with enthusiasm in some quarters, but for online traders it was just another bullish day.

Online traders are generally considered an active bunch. Their love of tech stocks -- and Internet stocks in particular -- and their zeal for do-it-yourself trading also gives them a strong bullish reputation. In keeping with the positive sentiment Monday, several online brokers say their customers were doing more buying than selling. But while the brokers reported strong volume, preliminary counts didn't reveal record trading activity. The normal day sits strangely well with the modest volume in the broader market. Since Dow stocks aren't flying off the shelves at online brokers, perhaps that restraint shouldn't be a huge surprise.

As the public face of the market, the Dow's performance has a psychological hold on investors. As online trading has taken off in the past two years, the Dow has blasted through 7000, 8000, 9000 and now 10,000. It's really no wonder online traders are so bullish on stocks.

But for their own trading, online traders tend to prefer cheaper stocks and explosive tech companies to the high-priced Dow blue-chips. For example, if you look at the 10 most-traded stocks of

E*Trade

(EGRP)

customers Friday, the list is all

Nasdaq

stocks, including

Autobytel.com

(ABTL)

,

Network Solutions

(NSOL)

and E*Trade itself.

Of course, Monday was a good day for the Nasdaq, too. While the Dow was up 184.54 to close at 10,006.78, a 1.9% gain, the Nasdaq rose 73.67 to close at 2492.84, a 3.1% jump. Although it is still slightly off its highs of earlier this year, the Nasdaq has climbed 34% while the Dow climbed from 9011 on Nov. 16 to finish above 10,000 Monday. And

TheStreet.com Internet Sector

index rose 24.58, or 3.9%, to an all-time high of 654.16, while

TheStreet.com E-Commerce Index

gained 1.17, or 1.1%, to 112.70.

But the strong gains from the indices didn't intoxicate online traders.

E*Trade, the No. 3 online broker according to fourth-quarter trading volume, had a big day, with more buying than selling, according to a spokeswoman. E*Trade is expecting an active day Tuesday, the day of its Dow 10,000 promotion. Customers who place and execute trades on stocks in the Dow Jones Industrial Average Tuesday will get their trades free. The special event has been teasing E*Trade customers for a few weeks, but Tuesday will definitely be the day.

Discover Brokerage Direct

, a

Morgan Stanley Dean Witter

(MWD)

unit and the No. 8 online broker, reported a normal volume day. The ordinary activity may have come because customers have been expecting Dow 10,000. A Discover spokesman says a small survey of Discover customers two weeks ago indicated customers expected the Dow to close above 10,000 by the end of the month and finish above 10,000 by the end of the year.

Suretrade

, a

Fleet

(FLT) - Get Report

unit and the No. 9 online broker, had a positive day, with more buying than selling. But it wasn't the type of volume day the broker hasn't seen before, according to a spokeswoman.