WALL STREET: Merging to Survive

The wholesale disappearance of brokerage houses that threatened Wall Street in 1969 and 1970 was never averted; it was merely delayed. It began in earnest in January 1973, when stock prices started on a slide that has never really stopped, and daily trading volume sagged beneath the break-even point (generally pegged at 16 million shares a day on the New York Stock Exchange).

Since then, 40 Big Board firms have liquidated or merged, and the survivors have suffered staggering losses—$47.8 million for the 435 remaining N.Y.S.E. retail firms in April of this year...

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