We're wrapping up another terrible day on Wall Street, and this time it's bad news from companies, not credit markets, that's stoking the fire under sellers. This week, earnings haven't been good, and we're finally seeing the fallout from the credit crunch and the slowing economy appear in the form of mounting job losses.
So far this week:
Merck: 7,200 jobs, or 11 percent of its workforce. Even so, the drug maker is still scaling back earnings and profit forecasts as it struggles to replace blockbusters like Fosamax and fend off competition from generic rivals. Shares fell almost 5 percent.
Comcast: 300 jobs or 1.5 percent of its 20,000-strong eastern division. The cuts are part of a restructuring. Shares fell more than 5 percent.
Ticketmaster: 300 jobs, or about 5 percent of its workforce. The ticket seller is cutting jobs as it integrates a couple of buyouts earlier this year, but the ticket space is getting more crowded. Shares are off 6 percent.
Merrill Lynch: 500 jobs or so this week, and as many as 10,000 to come as the merger with Bank of America progresses, according to analyst Dick Bove. For execs, John Carney at Clusterstock also lays out the winners and losers.
National City: 4,000 jobs or 14 percent of the workforce over three years. The Ohio-based bank lost $729 million in the quarter, and its shares are absolutely destroyed. National City has become the poster child for spreading worries among regional banks. It's still up for sale, too.
Pearson PLC: The Financial Times is cutting 60 nonjournalists from its 1,600-strong staff, despite rising revenue this year. Parent Pearson, home to the FT and Penguin Books, is off as much as 5 percent today despite betting that a rising dollar will help 2008 profits.
Is anybody out there feeling a little déjà vu for the declining months of the postdot-com boom? I can't put my finger on it, but a flood of reports of slashing jobs in quarterly earnings calls this week feels an awful lot like what we had in the last recession. Unemployment is at 6.1 percent and rising.