Stock Quotes Available From Computerized Phone Hookup
WASHINGTON (AP) _ Stock market enthusiasts in Washington had another toy to play with starting Monday.
For 50 cents, a caller could get three-minutes’ worth of stock quotes by punching in symbols on a TouchTone phone.
Within a month, the service, operated by International Information Network Inc., is expected to be operating in Baltimore, Philadelphia, Miami, Atlanta, San Francsico and Los Angeles.
Standard stock symbols are transmitted to a computer by hitting the individual letters on the phone buttons and then hitting the numbers sign twice.
For example to get a quote for CBS Inc., a caller would use the symbol - CBS - by hitting the number two key three times because C is in the third position on the key, then hitting the two key two times, B being in the second position, and then the seven key three times for the S, followed by two strikes of the number sign.
A computer voice then tells you the price of the stock and its change from the previous day’s closing price. The quotes are delayed 15 minutes.
Although the tapping of the keys can seem a bit complex at first, Andrew Batkin, president of the company, said that ″after you’ve used it it’s fairly easy.″ He said a few hundred investors in the Washington area have been testing the system and they’ve developed good speed.
For traders who deal in the same stocks all of the time, the computer will accept codes for up to 30 stocks that can be recalled quickly by dialing in a single code, rather than all 30 codes.
″Sometime down the road,″ Batkin said he might add advertising to the message that is heard on each call.
He expects to add commercials to his other services, including race results and movie trivia lines as soon as he builds enough calling to show a potential advertiser what kind of response to expect.
His race results service, available in nine American cities, brings in 2.5 million calls a month, he said.
The company is also developing a sports service that would give a fan specific game scores for the price of a phone call to the Dial It number.
In the United Kingdom, where bookmaking is legal, Batkin hopes to introduce a horse race wagering results service before the end of the year. The market in London will be slower to grow, however, because the percentage of tone- generating telephones is much lower.
In some parts of the United States, 80 percent of the phones use push buttons to make tones. In England, the penetration is as low as 5 percent, Batkin said.
For Stock Fone, the Chesapeake & Potomac Telephone Co. and International Information Network split the 50-cent income from the call.
The market phone is available 24 hours a day with information from all of the major stock exchanges, NASDAQ national and supplemental markets and the options market.
There is no annual charge and no pre-registration necessary.