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Citigroup announces planned layoffs

Josh Brown Dec 7, 2011

Stacey Vanek Smith: Shares of Citigroup are down more than three percent this morning. The banking giant just announced it’s going to lay off 4,500 workers. Bank of America, Goldman Sachs and Wells Fargo have also announced layoffs in recent months.

Here to talk about this with us is Josh Brown, vice president at Fusion Analytics in New York. He joins us live as he does every Wednesday. Good morning, Josh.

Josh Brown: Good morning, how’s it going?

Smith: It’s going well. Josh, why do we keep seeing these job cuts from banks?

Brown: I just think the banks are still too big. The business of banking traditionally is pretty boring. It doesn’t require quite the levels of staff that they took on in the last decade, so I think the layoffs from Citi and Bank of America are going to be an ongoing feature, unfortunately.

Smith: Now Josh, to change subjects a bit, the big market mover this morning is the situation in Europe, of course. What are the markets reacting to right now?

Brown: You know, there are a lot of big expectations built into this massive euro summit that’s set to take place at the end of this week. And so far it appears they did not like the headlines of some of the things that were being discussed. So if you look at, for example, the stock market, the bond market in Germany, in Italy — they were trading decently and then all of a sudden that old headline risk came back out.

Some comments were made about there’s not going to be any kind of huge solution or silver bullet. And so what that ends up doing is it takes the speculators out of the market and there really aren’t any buyers to fill their shoes. So that’s what we’re seeing this morning.

Smith: So you’re expecting to see kind of a dragged-out solution?

Brown: Yeah, I mean this is not going to be a quickie divorce. If in fact the euro ends up breaking up, it’ll probably be in a couple of years. There are still so many solutions, and levers to pull, and switches to flip on and off. There are a lot more things that will be attempted before they just give up on this project. So I think the markets are coming to grips with that. I think expectations are nothing special either for a huge solution or a huge breakup, and that’s kind of where we are right now.

Smith: Josh Brown with Fusion Analytics in New York. Thank you, Josh.

Brown: Thank you.

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