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Schwab Trading Volume Rises

Retail trading volume at Charles Schwab picked up last month, reflecting a reversal of several months of sequential declines in the back half of 2009.

SAN FRANCISCO (

TheStreet

) -- Retail trading volume at

Charles Schwab

(SCHW) - Get Report

picked up last month, reflecting a reversal of several months of sequential declines in the back half of 2009.

Schwab said that average daily client trades totaled 354,700 for January, up 23% from December and 8% higher than activity in the year-earlier period. Included in that number are DARTs, or daily average revenue trades (that which Schwab receives a commission on), of 304,000 for January, up 21% from the December month.

The increase follows a period of three consecutive months of declines at Schwab and rivals

TD Ameritrade

TST Recommends

(AMTD) - Get Report

and

E*Trade Financial

(ETFC) - Get Report

.

Retail trading

, which typically experiences a slowdown during the holiday season, slowed earlier than usual at the end of 2009 as investors looked to take profits in order to protect gains after the historic run-up in stocks since early March.

Schwab said that net new assets brought to the company by new and existing clients in January totaled $6 billion, a decrease of 41% from December and down by half from a year earlier. Total client assets stood at $1.401 trillion as of the end of January, a level that's up 27% from a year ago, but down 2% from December.

Schwab shares were down nearly 7% so far in 2010 based on Thursday's close, and the stock was off less than 1 percent to $17.54 in early action on Friday.

--Written by Laurie Kulikowski in New York.