SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Yahoo is reducing its work force by 4 percent and as it hands out 600 layoff notices for the holidays.

The job cuts announced Tuesday follow weeks of speculation about whether a long-running financial funk would spur Yahoo to trim its payroll before the New Year.

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This marks the fourth time in three years that Yahoo Inc. has resorted to mass firings to boost its earnings.

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The cost-cutting strategy so far hasn’t been enough to lift its stock price. Yahoo shares closed Tuesday at $16.63, compared with $17.30 at end of September 2008 when Yahoo’s payroll peaked at 15,200 employees. It had 14,100 employees before the latest cuts.

Yahoo’s struggles have raised questions about whether CEO Carol Bartz might lose her job before her four-year contract expires in January 2013.

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