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March 1, 2004

Traders, Sales Staff Still Facing Cuts

By Staff Reports

Declining commissions are wreaking havoc on Wall Street. That's even though the securities industry has been on the rebound for the last 18 months. Both Merrill Lynch and Goldman Sachs have laid off traders and sales staff. About 75 professionals at the two firms have lost their jobs.

Goldman Sachs' layoffs came from the cash equities desks. The firm is said to be devoting more resources to equity derivatives and proprietary trading. Analysts say Goldman will seek higher profit businesses and electronic trading models in place of highly compensated brokers and sales people. Goldman is hoping to improve the rate of profit of its cash equities business. It was the source of about half of the $5.2 billion in equities revenues the firm brought in last year.