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The Charles Schwab Corporation is to axe up to 3,400 jobs in the US, the discount stock trader announced today.

The outfit blamed the economic downturn saying that between 2,750 to 3,400 jobs would have to go - 11 to 13 per cent of the company's workforce.

At this stage it's not known how many jobs will be lost as part of Schwab's Internet stock trading operation.

President and joint CEO, David S Pottruck, said: "With a slowing economy and weakening corporate earnings, our clients are facing the most challenging market environment in many years.

"Given our outlook regarding the potential duration of these uncertainties, we are taking additional measures to enhance our financial performance while continuing to maintain ample capacity and provide the superior service our clients expect.

"These are extremely difficult decisions to make, but we believe they are necessary responses to fundamental changes in the market environment and investor behaviour," he said.

A spokeswoman for Schwab in the UK said the job cuts announced today only applied to the US. She refused to rule in - or out - job cuts for the UK. ®

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