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Sony mulls online trading

Company in talks with Schwab to partner on site

TOKYO — Sony Corp. said Tuesday it is considering an Internet trading tie-up with discount brokerage Charles Schwab Corp. The two firms would form a joint venture that would target individual Japanese investors.

Sony said the plan is in the development stages and nothing has been formally decided about whether to participate in online trading.

According to reports in the Japanese media, the firm would be formed by the end of the year, and it would allow Japanese investors to tap into stock and unit trust trading on a 24-hour basis via their personal computers.

If Sony makes the jump into stock trading, it would mark its first foray into the world of brokerages for the electronics giant. The company already has an insurance company operating within its group.

The move could be lucrative for Sony, investment industry insiders said. Japanese households have enormous amounts of money put away in savings accounts that bear virtually no interests. An easy way to access the booming stock markets in the United States could become an attractive investment option for them.

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