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J.P. Morgan & Co. today said it will take a $55 million charge in the first quarter, largely to cover the cost of staff cuts as the nation's fifth-largest bank contends with a stubborn Wall Street slump.

It didn't disclose the magnitude of cuts, but an industry source speaking on condition of anonymity said 850 workers from J.P. Morgan's 17,000 worldwide staff, or 5 percent, would lose their jobs. They range from investment bankers to traders to support staff.

Both the job cuts and the one-time, tax charge to cover severance expenses were only about half what some analysts had expected, according to recent published reports.

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