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Volatile August boosts monthly trading activity at online brokers

Trading activity rose at major online brokerages in August as trade war-induced volatility roiled markets.

Daily average revenue trades, or DARTs, at Interactive Brokers Group Inc. jumped by 130,000 to 930,000 in August, while DARTs at TD Ameritrade Holding Corp. increased by 98,000 to 898,000.

Despite the increased activity, total client assets declined at four of the five major online brokerages examined in August.

In late September, Interactive Brokers Group announced a new free-trading platform to compete with Robinhood Markets Inc. and JPMorgan Chase & Co. in a move that set off a round of price cuts, with Charles Schwab Corp., TD Ameritrade and E*TRADE Financial quickly following suit. The brokers are expected to lose hundreds of millions of dollars a year in revenue from the cuts.

Charles Schwab does not report monthly trading activity.

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