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Pilots approve new contract with American Airlines

Pilots at American Airlines approved a new labor contract, which could clear the way for consideration of a merger with US Airways.

Union officials and analysts say the vote gives AMR Corp. creditors certainty about the company's labor costs, making it easier for them to weigh which gives them more money â¿¿ American on its own, or getting bigger through a merger with US Airways.

American also hailed the vote as a key step in its turnaround after years of heavy losses.

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IBM shifts 401(k) policy to once-a-year matches

IBM is making changes to its employee benefits that may cause other large corporations to follow suit.

The technology company will begin making contributions to employees' 401(k) accounts in lump-sum annual payments, rather than at the time of each paycheck. The move will help the company cut retirement plan expenses.

Contribution amounts won't change. But employees who leave IBM prior to Dec. 15 in a calendar year won't be due that year's end-of-year lump-sum 401(k) contribution, unless they're retiring.

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By The Associated Press(equals)

The Dow Jones Industrial average rose 81.09, or 0.6 percent, to 13,155.13.

The Standard & Poor's 500 rose 4.13, or 0.3 percent, to 1,418.07.

The Nasdaq composite index fell 11.23, or 0.4 percent, to 2,978.04.

Benchmark crude fell 33 cents to finish at $85.93 per barrel. Brent crude, used to price international varieties of oil, fell 1 cent to finish at $107.02 per barrel.

Heating oil fell 2.79 cents to end at $2.9153 per gallon.

Wholesale gasoline rose less than a penny to finish at $2.5974 per gallon.

Natural gas lost 11.5 cents, or 3.1 percent, to finish at $3.551 per 1,000 cubic feet.

Copyright 2011 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
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