Online broker E*Trade Group yesterday announced it would halve its marketing budget – which last year stood at $487.6 million – after unveiling a first-quarter loss.

The company, headquartered in Menlo Park, California, announced that cuts in marketing spend of 50% would be implemented over the coming quarters. In addition, less money will be spent on brand-building, as E*Trade focuses on augmenting its customer base.

In line with expectations, the online firm posted a first-quarter loss of $9.2m (three cents per share) on revenues of $329.6m, compared to Q1 2000 results of $25.5m and $416.7m respectively. Operating profits rose from $672,00 a year ago to $868,000.

News source: Wall Street Journal