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With the war in Iraq threatening to last longer than initially anticipated, the volatility in the stock market has seen visits to Stocks & Shares websites falling by 12% in the last week, reports Hitwise.

Concern about the effects of war is also reflected in the housing market, with traffic to property sites falling by 4% in the same period. This supports figures from Hometrack published yesterday which indicate that prospective buyers are remaining cautious and waiting to understand the full consequences of the war before making their decision.

By contrast, traffic to political sites has increased by 16% in the last 7 days. Following his anti-war speech at the Oscars ceremony in which he criticised President Bush, the website of the left-wing US media activist Michael Moore ( ) was the most visited political site on Monday 24th March. The site accounted for 7.89% of traffic to Politics sites, increasing its market share within the category by 144% since the Oscars took place on Sunday. 6.27% of users bookmarked the site.

16% of traffic was directed from Google, suggesting that the UK public had seen Michael Moore’s outburst and gone to Google to perform a search about him. 6% of traffic leaving the site went to United Peace & Justice , a national campaign that brings together a broad range of organisations throughout the US to help coordinate work against a US war on Iraq.

Top 5 political sites, 24 March 2003

Rank Name Domain Relative Market Share

1 Michael Moore 7.89%

2 Guardian Unlimited Politics 4.34%

3 YouGov 3.80%

4 Petition Online 3.27%

5 ZNet 3.25%

About Hitwise

Hitwise is the first and only online competitive intelligence service that gives companies real-time insights into their online competitive environment. By partnering with a wide range of local ISPs, Hitwise collects anonymous information about the usage habits of more than 23 million Internet users worldwide, covering home, work and educational usage.

Hitwise is headquartered in Melbourne, Australia and offers its service in the UK, US, Australia, New Zealand, Hong Kong and Singapore.

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