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The Hi-Tech Investor: Calling all armchair capitalists

IT'S BEEN a good summer for armchair investors. In the space of a few weeks, several firms have launched websites that let users follow stock prices or delve into a firm's performance.

Hemmington Scott offers a vast range of company data and information, from directors' dealings to brokers' forecasts. From now on, much of its research will be accessible, free of charge, to users of its new internet service provider (ISP) service. As with most other free ISP deals, users can have five e-mail addresses, 20mb of web space, and go online with a local phone number.

Until 30 September, Hemmington Scott will offer free access to its site; after that, users of other ISPs will pay a monthly subscription of pounds 5. (You can get round this by signing up for Hemscott.net even if you already use another ISP.)

Investors interested in tracking their stocks online should also take a look at CompuServe's new portfolio service. The pages offer sophisticated charting and profit calculation. Perhaps most useful of all is the e- mail alert service, which automatically informs portfolio users if stocks move outside parameters they choose. One note of caution: users of older internet browsers and old editions of CompuServe's own software need to upgrade to access the site.

n Hemmington Scott: www.hemscott.net; CompuServe Portfolio: www.compuserve.co.uk/portfolio

Egg opens net account

EGG, the direct banking and savings arm of the Prudential, has launched an internet-only savings account.

Egg recently restricted new applications for its standard deposit account to the net, but the new account is truly internet only.

The initial rate has been set at 5.75 per cent, 0.25 per cent above the standard account.

Savers who need to deal with the new account by phone or by post will be charged a fee, so you must be confident that an online account will suit you. Existing Egg customers can convert their accounts via Egg's website.

Egg: www.egg.com

Stephen Pritchard can be contacted at: Hi-tech-investor@dial.pipex.com