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Bear Stearns cutting costs, 650 more jobs

The 4 percent work force reduction is part of an ongoing initiative.

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NEW YORK (AP) -- Bear Stearns will cut 650 positions, or about 4 percent of its work force, in further attempts to reduce costs at the battered investment bank, according to an internal memo obtained Wednesday by The Associated Press.

The nation's fifth-largest investment bank said in the memo the job cuts are part of an ongoing review to "best position Bear Stearns for 2008 and beyond." The company has already cut about 900 positions since the summer's credit market turmoil.

It was not immediately known what parts of the company the reductions would come from. However, a person familiar with the layoffs who was not authorized to speak publicly on the matter said cuts would likely come from the operations side of the business - including information technology and legal and compliance departments.

A spokesman did not immediately return telephone calls.

The memorandum, which came from Bear Stearns' management and compensation committee, said those who lose their jobs would be given severance, benefits and outplacement services.

In October, Bear Stearns cut 300 jobs from areas including its equity trading business. The company also slashed about 600 positions from its mortgage-origination unit.

The reduction is the latest to hit Wall Street in the past few months, as investment banks reel from deterioration in the subprime mortgage and leveraged loan markets. The biggest global investment houses collectively wrote down tens of billions of dollars worth of assets because of the market crisis this summer.

Shares of Bear Stearns (Charts, Fortune 500) rose $3.98, or 4.2 percent, to $99.41. All of the other top investment banks were also sharply higher on the day. To top of page

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