Yahoo to Launch New Features in Finance Sections

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Yahoo Inc. is beefing up the finance section of its Web site with more interactive stock charts and other features to help it maintain its longtime lead over rival financial information sites.

The redesigned Web page launches Monday after being in development for more than 18 months, said Peggy White, general manager of Yahoo Finance. “It’s about putting more power in the hands of the user,” she said.

Gone is the static, two-dimensional stock chart where scrolling elsewhere on the page was required for getting additional data or a different timeline view. Instead, users can stay on the chart itself to view major events such as splits or dividends or drag the timeline to a desired period.

Users can also type in specific dates to create a chart and compare the performance of multiple equities within the same graph. They can then easily print the customized chart or send it to others via e-mail.

Google Inc., the search engine leader that’s fast expanding its product portfolio, introduced some similar interactive chart features when it launched a finance section in March. But Yahoo’s new powerful, customization features raise the bar for its major competitors, said Charlene Li, an Internet analyst at Forrester Research.

“This takes stock charts to another level,” Li said. “And you don’t stay the leader if you don’t innovate.”

Yahoo operates the Web’s most visited finance site. In June, it had 12.2 million unique U.S. visitors, while MSN’s Money section ranked second with 10.9 million U.S. visitors, according to Nielsen-NetRatings. They were followed by the finance Web sites of Time Warner Inc.’s AOL and CNNMoney.

Though Google is a formidable rival for Yahoo on other fronts, its fledgling finance site hasn’t garnered enough visitors yet to be tracked, Nielsen-NetRatings said.

Yahoo’s ongoing objective, like many of its rivals, is to continually drive as much traffic to its Web site and thus boost advertising revenues.

To that end, Yahoo on Monday also added a Web-based tool for other online publishers to distribute stock charts, quotes and news headlines from Yahoo Finance all free of charge. The syndication offering, called the Yahoo Finance Badge, lets Web sites of all sizes, including blogs, display market data that Yahoo already receives and processes from the leading stock exchanges.

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