LOOSE CHANGE

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The Independent Online
What they mean when they say:

Tradepoint

Tradepoint is the UK's first computer-based share market and the first serious challenge to the London Stock Exchange. It will start trading on 21 September, allowing brokers and institutional investors to trade directly on screen instead of placing orders through the market makers of the LSE.

No one is quite sure what effect Tradepoint will have on the traditional London market and the ease with which private investors can buy shares. But stockbrokers are warning that market makers will be forced to restrict the number of stocks they deal in, making it more difficult to get hold of smaller company shares. At present the LSE forbids market makers from offering cheaper prices on rival systems. But this rule may be scrapped next month, clearing the way for rival markets.

Home truths

The banks and building societies are still convinced that this is the worst housing recession since records began. They complain bitterly that there is no light at the end of the tunnel and that the Chancellor must do something to save their skins before they all go out of business.

As this newspaper pointed out again this week, the doom-mongering looks overdone. Personal disposable income is growing. Furthermore, houses are now as affordable as they were in the late 1960s, before the market went into orbit.

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