Reflecting the slowdown in the mortgage market in the second half of the year, Washington Mutual (NYSE: WM) announced decreased earnings in the fourth quarter of 2003. WaMu reported fourth-quarter earnings of $842 million, or 93 cents a share as compared with $941 million, or $1 a share for the same period in the previous year. The company closed the sale of its consumer finance subsidiary, Washington Mutual Finance, on Jan. 9, 2004. All financial information reflects Washington Mutual Finance as a discontinued operation. Regardless, WaMu reported 2003 annual earnings of $3.88 billion, or $4.21 a share, versus $3.86 billion, or $4.02 a share in 2002, an increase of 5 percent on a per share basis. Record home loan volume of $384.18 billion for 2003 increased $104.7 billion from $27...
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