A NEW Internet share-dealing service is to launch later this year, backed by Goldman Sachs and GE Capital.

TheShare.com is expected to offer online trading in unit trusts as well as in single company equities. It will also provide a newswire service. TheShare.com is seeking regulatory clearance from the Securities and Futures Authority and is expected to seek an early stock-market listing.

A major marketing campaign is scheduled for the next few months.

The new service has been set up by Neil Stapley, a former managing director of NatWest Stockbrokers who left in 1993 to become managing director of Charles Schwab, the US sharedealing group that has launched an online service in Britain.

TheShare.com joins an increasingly long list of online sharedealing services in the UK. So far, there are services offered by Charles Schwab, eTrade and DLJ Direct, while many of the traditional banks like Barclays have started online share-trading. The growth in the number of services foreshadows an expected rise in the popularity of online sharedealing in Britain, where 80,000- 100,000 people are thought to trade online. The figure is expected to double within a couple of years.

However, there have been fears that the growth of low-cost online services encourages daytrading, a practice where private investors dip in and out of stocks within a single day. Daytrading has become hugely popular in the US where punters tend to focus on volatile Internet stocks.

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