Wall Street 2003 bonuses seen at US$10.7bil

NEW YORK: Wall Street workers can thank a surging stock market for their extra 2003 year-end windfall, with total bonuses expected to jump nearly 25% to US$10.7bil, said New York comptroller Alan Hevesi. 

This year’s bonus bonanza marks the first increase since the stock market downturn in 2000, and reflects a sharp rise from the US$8.6bil in bonuses paid by Wall Street banks and brokerages last year. 

With corporate earnings trouncing last year’s levels as the US economy quickened pace, the tech-laden Nasdaq has surged about 43% this year while the blue-chip Dow Jones Industrial Average and Standard & Poor’s 500 Index have each climbed roughly 21%. 

The bonuses would be divided among the 161,000 securities industry employees in New York City, averaging US$66,800 per person, Hevesi said. 

That figure is lower than the average bonus of US$101,000 paid during the peak years of the Wall Street boom, but higher than the US$52,400 average bonus in 2002. 

New York City will get an estimated US$182.5mil in tax revenue from the bonuses this year, compared with last year’s US$125.4mil. And New York State is seen collecting US$805.2mil in tax revenue, up sharply from the US$588.8mil earned a year earlier from Wall Street bonuses. – Reuters  

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