Track your shares on the net

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The Independent Online
AN INTERNET service has been launched for small investors to keep track of their share portfolios.

Sharemail aims to make the stock market more accessible to the small investor whose only experience of share ownership may have been the demutualisation deals of the last few years. A stock portfolio tracker service allows the investor to carry out an analysis of share performance on a daily, weekly or monthly basis.

The basic service is free and gives access to more than 3,000 stocks on the London Stock Exchange. Prices are quoted from close of business the previous working day and there is a database of historical information to January 1996.

The values listed include the opening value, value at close, high, low and volume traded. The users can use an online graphing facility to view share trends from 1996 and the present.

Investors can receive regular valuation updates of their own individual portfolios and any "shadow" portfolio of their choice from as little as pounds 24 a year for up to 20 stocks; pounds 30 a year for up 35 stocks; and pounds 36 a year for up to 50 stocks. First-time users are offered the service free for 30 days on a trial basis.

The service has only been running for a few weeks but already has around 350 subscribers. Rob Hebron, joint managing director of Sharemail, believes he has identified a need for easy access to share prices for small investors who do not have a portfolio big enough to warrant a stockbroker.

"Many people don't bother keeping track of their shares in the financial pages and find it difficult to track them over long periods, but the graphing facility allows them to look at trends in a given period.

"Updates are e-mailed to subscribers and portfolio details are fully protected by a password," he said.

The weekly "snapshots" are aimed at investors who want to keep track of the value of their portfolio, but who do not tend to buy or sell shares regularly, whereas the daily "snapshots" are for investors who want to monitor the performance of a particularly volatile stock.