After major investment managers announced significant layoffs earlier this year, the industry's ears perked up when published reports [first reported Sept. 4 on the MFMN Web site] announced that Fidelity Investments would be making cuts of its own. But last week when the firm announced the cuts, the total was much lower than anticipated, and as a result, is being interpreted by many as sign of optimism for the industry.

"There was a heightened anticipation for [Fidelity's layoffs]," said Jim Lowell, editor of Fidelity Investor, an unaffiliated newsletter that tracks Fidelity. "The firm is always under a great deal of scrutiny. People look at what Fidelity is doing to gauge the industry. They think of Fidelity as the industry."

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