5 years ago... Rapid growth for online traders

...and then the downturn...

...and then the downturn...

09.06.99: Research by Credit Suisse First Boston (CSFB) found that online trading has grown by nearly 50 per cent between the last quarter of 1998 and the first of 1999.

With 15 per cent of all trading done via the web, figures show that online brokers now handle 500,000 deals each day - compared to under 100,000 a day two years ago.

Paying an average of $15 per trade, the top five internet brokers, which include Datek Online, Charles Schwab and E+Trade Group, now hold a 71 per cent market share.

09.06.04: This level of increased online activity continued and by 2001 the internet was no longer considered complementary to existing means of trading shares - it was considered to be vital, especially during periods of dramatically high levels of trading.

Within two years of this story being published, that 15 per cent of all trading figure had risen to 50 per cent, according to Barclays, as punters put down the phone and opted for the web.

While the inevitable downturn saw a decrease in total levels of trading and a general decline in interest in 'speculate to accumulate' economic models, the internet had become recognised for its ease and convenience and for many it became the preferred form of trading.

Whether or not the internet changed the actual volumes of trades is unclear - but the most curious story of market fluctuation during the past few years was almost certainly about the phenomenon that became known as the 'Tiger Woods effect' - the realisation that the markets' performance was closely linked to that of US golfer Tiger Woods.