Securities regulators are emphasizing education amid a huge surge in on-line investing.
Arthur Levitt, the Securities and Exchange Commission chairman, put out a statement Wednesday about issues that on-line investors should be aware of, including potential delays in trade executions and dramatic, rapid price changes.
He also cautioned investors to be wary of buying on margin and recommended against using essential money for day trading.
"I am very concerned when I hear of stories of student loan money, second mortgages, or retirement funds being used to engage in this type of activity," he said. "Investment should be for the long run, not for minutes or hours."
A day earlier the National Association of Securities Dealers Inc. urged brokerages to ensure they have adequate systems to handle high volume or volatility. The NASD also said firms should provide clear disclosure about risks from volatility.
Brokerages should also consider disclosing that delays may occur because of high trading volumes, the NASD added, and consider additional disclosures for customers interested in initial public offerings.
In addition, the NASD outlined steps taken by some firms in response to volatility. "Notice to Members 99-11" is available on the NASD's Web site, http://www.nasdr/com.