Charles Schwab Corp. said today that its operating income for this year’s third quarter fell more than 50% from the same period last year. The firm says economic uncertainty that has sparked the markets’ turbulence since last months’ terrorist attacks played a significant role in the declines.

Operating income for the third quarter was $81 million, or $.06 per share, on operating revenues of $1 billion, compared to operating income of $165 million, or $1.2 per share, on operating revenues of $1.3 billion during the third quarter of 2000.

In addition, the company’s operating income for the first three quarters this year declined 43% from the same period last year, the company said, falling from $687 million, or $.49 per share, to $298 million, or $.21 per share.

"The uncertainty surrounding the duration and severity of the current economic slowdown has only increased following the horrific events of Sept. 11," Chairman Charles Schwab said in a statement.

Schwab said clients opened 184,000 new accounts and the firm handled 7.8 million active accounts at quarter end. Co-CEO David Pottruck, meanwhile, noted what he saw as headway in the firm’s mutual fund enterprise, citing the recent launch of a Web-based resource for representatives that provides news, research and analytic tools.

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