Tuesday, May 20, 1997

Pacific Stars And Stripes

Location: Tokyo, Japan

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Pacific Stars And Stripes (Newspaper) - May 20, 1997, Tokyo, Japan PACIFIC STARS AND STRIFES TUESDAY, HAY 20,1997The Associated PressKeith ChmieSeski holds a pair of the stt®@s he sells at the Chicago Hoard of Trade. Ths shoesadd up to three inch@s in height so\i raders can see while doing business in the pits. The basicmod®! costs $89, and Chmieleslci charges another $&§ for the last inch and a half of .height.* Everfinch counts whenyou're fighting in the pits,so platform shoes are ahot itemThe Associated PressCHICAGO — At 6-foot-2, GuyRadossevich, looks like the kindof guy who couldn't have a badseat at the movies.But in the hurly-burly of Chi-cago's Board of Trade, hedoesn't stand out — even withhis garish jacket and freneticbody language.He relies on platform shoes.Brokers, traders and clerksare wearing special black shoeswith rubber soles that boosttheir height by up to 3 inches.The lift helps them see abovethe flailing arms, flashinghands and bobbing heads on thetrading floor, which is bigenough to hold a Boeing 747."I can't see over the brokersin front of me," complained Ra-dossevich, who works in the• ' • >, • ' •frenzied 30-year U.S. Treasurybond pit. "Even wi$i the shoes,I can barely see — especiallywhen it's busy."Board of Trade workers gen-erally arrive in ^dressy shoesand change to more comfort-able ones so they can stand forseven hours a day. They leavetheir street shoes in the shoeroom, where Keith Chmieleskihas been taking care of themsince 1987.That's where he also hasbeen seUing the special MasonShoes, made in Chippewa Falls,Wis., since 1991. He estimateshe's sold 1,500 pairs; 250 lastyear and 270 already this year.He charges $89 for the shoesand up to $65 to add a 1^-inchsole. He says he makes a slightprofit but would not be morespecific."They're just trying to catchup to the guy next to them," hesaid% "Somebody gets' half aninchi and the guy standing nextto him gets an inch or an inch-and-a-half. It doesn't stop."Well, it does, at three.Chmieleski said adding morethan IVi inches to the shoes,which already have a IVMnchsole, would make them un-stable.The rules forbid high plat-form shoes or high-heeledshoes, but it is up to fjoor offi-cials to determine how high istoo high, a Board of Tradespokesman said.The shoes are^ against therules at the Chicago ^ercantileExchange, but -'thift hasn'tstopped tworkeis"from orderingthem, Chmieleski said. *The Associated PressCHICAGO — Hold'onto yourstomachs, folks. Last year'smost popular new products in-cluded a self-nsuig pizza crustand baked potato chips, whichmay have helped ^ost threenew indigestion drugs into thetopiaiist,"Pizza and chips and antacids— is there0 some connectionmere? You telKme," quippedCarol Elitov, a vice president atChicago-based Information Re-sources Inc., a product-trackingfirm. - -. ; ;"'•./"/ •••..." .'•-.LuvsStretch diapers led.thetop 10 product introductions,with,$435 million in sales, fol-lowed by Scott lOOtt paperproducts at $309 million andPepcid AC with $248 million insales, " . ''v-',;»'.'.'/ ,;;: -'v/v";v •'Many, Americans also -ap-peared to be trying to kick thesmoking habit by purchasingNicorette gum, which tookfoifrth place by ringing up $189million in sales.That was followed by BakedLays potato chips, $167 million;Pampers Premium, $162 mil-lion; and Tagamet HB/2t)0,$155 million.Rounding out the top 10 wereBounty Medleys, $126 millionand DiGiorno self-rising pizza,And if all this gives you indi-gestion, there's yet more antac-id, Zantac 75, at $116 million.* Three-quarters of on-line brokerages now allowcustomers to make trans-actions via the *NetThe New York TimesBruce Bennett would ratherspend his money on fishingequipment than on commis-sions for Ms stock trades.Tfy^t is why Bennett, afourth-year medical student atthe University of Mississippi,has used three different broker-age firms in the last year. Inter-estingly, those three firmsshare another trait besidescheap deals: they all offer trad-ing over the Internet.That is no surprise. The In-ternet is the speediest part ofthe fast-growing area of on-lineing commission has fallen from$35.33 in 1996 to $34.48 thisyear, and some trades — partic-ularly the Internet onesu — gofor as little as $9 or less."As more and more broker-ages go on line and offer Inter-net trading, the competition forwho can offer the lowest fees isheating up immensely," saidKenneth J. Michal, an analystwith the American Associationof Individual Investors.Another reason for the lowprices is low overhead, said Ju-lio Gomez, an analyst at Forres-ter Research in Cambridge,Mass."It costs brokerages very lit-tle, if anything, to offer tradesvia the Internet," he said.But investors must realizethat these bargain deals some-!times come with conditions andtrading. Investors can trade on hefty side charges. That is to beline through a company's pro- expected; discount brokers, theprietary software, through com- - biggest presence in on-linemercial on-line services or di-rectly on the Internet.But although only five of the12 on-line traders, or 42 per-cent, offered Internet access in1995, 25 of the 33 on-line trad- said, "is that these firms areers this year, or 76 percent, are simply giving customers whatoffering Internet service, ac- they want — cheap trades —cording to the American Asso- and extracting their pound oftrading so far, often use this ap-proach in their off-line busi-ness, too."What's happening right nowwith the price wars," Gomezciation of In-dividual In-vestors, whichconducts thisannualsurvey."All thegrowth in on-line investingis over the In-ternet," saidAndre Schelu-chin, manag-ing editor at Mercer Inc., whichalso tracks this data.When financial-services'jffleshelsewhere."ScottsdaleOnline, for ex-ample,charges a fiatfee of $9 atrade. To getthat price,however, in-vestors mustkeep a$10,000count minimum; otherwise,they must pony up $19 a trans-action.firms decide to start offering Investexpress On-Lineon-line trading, the Internet is charges $13.95 a trade, but themore and more often theirchoice. Consider full-servicebrokers.Memll Lynch recently an-nounced that it would begin of-trade must be for at least 500shares, with a minimum shareprice of $3.Some firms charge executionfees'oh each trade. At Computelfering Internet trading to quali- that fe'e is $2.50; Net Investorfying customers in* January charges $2.75.1998, and in December, Dean "Investors should always callWitter purchased Lombard In- and ask about extra charges —stitutional Brokerage, which processing fees, handling fees,does about half of its trading on sometimes they're called differ-the Internet. • ent things," Scheluchin* said.Mutual funds;;>vhich often of- ''All firms put it in their litera-fer prospectuses and applica- ture, but sometimes it's hard totlons on the Internet, also are find."edging into trading. The Scud- Optional services can beder,JMdeUtyrStrongand Am0ri- steeply priced, too; Datek On-can Century fund fainih'es now line, for instance, charges $50allow exchanges, redemptions to mail stock certificates.or both over the Internet. Andthe last two also allow the pur-chase of additional shares onthe Interne^ fund islinked to the customer's bankaccount. ;It is not surprising mat bar-Largefees for inactive ac-counts -—Net Investor charges$50 — are often levied on inves-tors who fail to generate a mini-mum dollar amount of commis-sions within a certain period.And limit orders, throughgain-seekers such as Bennett which investors set a price limithave flocked to this system. The on a stock sale or purchase, canaverage minimum on-line trad- cost extra., \ „'j-t