Shareholders in securities firms have lost $74 billion worth of equity this year, but the top five firms are still paying out almost $38 billion in bonuses. Goldman Sachs, Merrill Lynch, Morgan Stanley, Lehman Brother, and Bear Stearns will pay about 168,000 employees an average bonus of $201,500. Bear Stearns and Merrill Lynch actually lost money this year, but if they “plead poverty, they’re going to lose all of their good people,” says Manhattan College professor Charles Geisst. (Bloomberg)