Stock Watch: E*Trade and Sprint Announce Pact

In an attempt to tap into each other’s customer bases, E*Trade (Nasdaq: EGRP) and Sprint announced an aggressive marketing agreement on Tuesday that will promote both companies — online and offline. Under the terms of the deal, E*Trade will offer up to 1,000 free minutes of long distance to any Sprint customer who opens a new E*Trade account. Meanwhile, Sprint will offer a $50 cash bonus to E*Trade customers who switch to Sprint.

The offer, which the companies say is the first of its kind for both the brokerage and telecommunications industries, is available through September 3. The deal could be more significant for E*Trade than Sprint. The online brokerage game is getting increasingly crowded, and Sprint, the No. 3 U.S. long-distance company, has more than three million customers for E*Trade to attempt to lure.

Shares of E*Trade closed unchanged at 32 on Tuesday. It might not be time to buy into the stock because uncertainty about the Internet sector still abounds, but the deal with Sprint seems quite significant.

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