Charles Schwab Corp., the biggest discount brokerage firm, said commission trading in July dropped for the sixth time in seven months as slumping stocks discouraged individual investors.
"It is clear that economic and market uncertainty continue to weigh on trading volumes, revenue and the mentality of the retail investor," Schwab Chief Financial Officer Christopher Dodds said.
The ongoing decline in trading foreshadows further cost reductions at Schwab, analysts say. Schwab's executive management committee, which includes co-chief executives Charles Schwab and David Pottruck as well as Dodds, will meet next week to discuss possible additional expense cuts.
Schwab clients made an average 124,200 trades a day in July, down 10% from June and down 43% from July 2000. In the first nine trading days of August trades dropped 9.8% from the July average to 112,000, the lowest level since October 1998.
The July data have been widely expected. Investors pushed Schwab shares (SCH) to a multiyear low of $13.28 on the New York Stock Exchange on Tuesday. The stock edged up to $13.37 Wednesday.