Business: A Bear Market for Brokers

THE stock market looked somewhat more cheerful last week than when the Dow-Jones industrial average scraped its late-May low of 631, but Wall Street's brokers were still gloomy about their own private profit squeeze. In the long bear market, the brokerage houses suffered more severely than most of the firms in whose shares they deal. The capital-to-debt ratio of three out of the 25 largest brokerage houses was so low in recent weeks that the New York Stock Exchange has been pressuring them to trim expenses by dropping employees and reducing salaries. Many firms have laid off 10% to 15% of...

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