Merrill Lynch & Co. has become the first institution to offer financial services through Microsoft's recently launched MSN MoneyCentral Web site.

Merrill is leasing space on the site, which combines three formerly separate sites-home.microsoft.com, msn.com, and hotmail.com.-for an undisclosed price. The brokerage giant is one of five financial institutions expected eventually to take places on the MoneyCentral home page, said Lewis Levin, vice president of Microsoft's desktop finance division.

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