Top CEO: 'This Has Been One of the Toughest Periods in my 36-year Career

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ICAP, the world’s largest broker of transactions between banks, said fiscal first-half pretax profit fell 26% as Europe’s sovereign-debt crisis hurt trading. The shares tumbled the most in more than two years in early trading in London.

Bloomberg reports that profit slid to $217m in the six months to the end of September from $295m pounds in the year-earlier period, London-based ICAP said Wednesday. ICAP said full-year profit would be at the 'low end' of the $475m to $526m range of analyst estimates.

'This has been one of the toughest periods in my 36-year career in the wholesale financial markets', CEO Michael Spencer said in the statement. 'I do not believe this negative environment will continue indefinitely, but equally I do not expect it to improve imminently'.

ICAP is cutting costs to bolster profit as the crisis crimps transactions on its foreign-exchange and fixed-income trading platforms. The company expects to make more than $79.3m of reductions by the end of this financial year.

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