While the Internet has empowered American investors with easy access to information and low-cost online trading, the proliferation of false or misleading information in chat rooms and on financial Web sites has raised concerns for securities regulators and public companies.

In a Nov. 22 report on online trading, Commissioner Laura S. Unger of the Securities and Exchange Commission recommended that the agency conduct, or encourage researchers to conduct, a study analyzing the effect of chat room discussions on corporate stock prices.

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