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Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Legg Mason posts fifth straight loss, cuts dividend 88%

Asset manager Legg Mason(LM) on Tuesday cut its regularly quarterly dividend by 88 percent to 3 cents per share.

Legg Mason had previously paid a dividend of 24 cents per share. The new dividend will be paid July 13 to shareholders of record as of June 16.

The company cut the dividend as it reported a fiscal fourth-quarter loss of $325.1 million, or $2.29 per share. Many financial firms have been cutting their dividends in recent quarters to help preserve capital amid the credit crisis and ongoing recession.

The results were close to expectations. Analysts surveyed by Reuters Estimates were expecting the Baltimore company to lose $2.33 per share. Revenues fell 42 percent to $617.2 million, against the average analysts' forecast of $611.5 million.

The company's shares fell to $20.08 from their close of $22.53 on the New York Stock Exchange on Monday.

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