PENSION-FUND RETURNS ARE BOOSTING THE BOTTOM LINE
Corporate profits are getting a helping hand from financial markets. Wyatt Co., a consulting firm, reports that last year, the median return on retirement funds of U.S. companies was 25.1%--and 18.6% more than salary increases.
The combination of healthy investment returns, modest salary hikes, and job cutbacks indicates that pension assets have been growing far faster than liabilities. And that, says a Wyatt spokesman, means lower future pension-fund contributions, with the savings "flowing directly to the bottom line."GENE KORETZ