WHEN WARREN BUFFETT swept into troubled Salomon Brothers in 1991, he promised to be open with shareholders. Soon the firm began breaking out the results of its two very different operations: customer trading and the more volatile proprietary trading for the house account. Well, so much for openness. When Buffett announced on Oct. 19 that he was cashing out part of his stake in Salomon, the investment bank said it would no longer be breaking out results by unit. The obvious explanation: The firm wants to obscure its reliance on proprietary trading, which accounted for 92% of Salomon Brothers' pretax third-quarter income.
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