NEW YORK (Reuters) – Top U.S. phone company AT&T Inc. said it would eliminate 12,000 jobs, or about 4 percent of its workforce, a fresh wave of cuts to cope with an economic downturn that has exacerbated a decline in traditional phone sales. AT&T said on Thursday it will cut the jobs over the remainder of 2008 and 2009, and take a charge of about $600 million in this year's fourth quarter for severance. The company attributed the job cuts to "economic pressures, a changing business mix and a more streamlined organizational structure." The carrier also plans to cut its 2009 capital spending from this year's levels, though actual spending plans have not yet been finalized. AT&T said it would provide details on its capital spending in late January. The cuts come as the company struggles with declining landline sales, as many consumers switch to wireless or alternative, cheaper services offered by cable and Internet companies. Shares of AT&T were up 1.4 percent to $29.53 in early trading on the New York Stock Exchange. "While the weak macro environment is taking its toll on the business, we believe the cuts show the large telcos... have levers they can pull to partially offset the effects of the slowdown," said UBS analyst John Hodulik.
Older people tend to feel about 13 years younger than their chronological age, a new study finds.

The seniors in the study, all 70 and over, also thought they looked about 10 years younger than their numerical age, with women perceiving their appearances to be closer to their actual age than men.

"People generally felt quite a bit younger than they actually were, and they also showed relatively high levels of satisfaction with aging over the time period studied," said researcher Jacqui Smith, a psychologist at the University of Michigan Institute for Social Research.

She added, "Perhaps feeling about 13 years younger is an optimal illusion in old age."

The results, which will be published in a forthcoming issue of the Journals of Gerontology: Psychological Science, have implications beyond the psychological. Past research has shown that feeling youthful is linked with better health and longer life, the researchers say.

Spring chickens

Smith and her colleagues analyzed information collected from surveys of 516 men and women age 70 and older who participated in the Berlin Aging Study. The survey tracked how seniors' perceptions about age and their satisfaction with aging changed over a six-year period ending in 1998.
NEW YORK – Wall Street showed further signs of stability Thursday as investors calmly took in a flurry of downbeat economic and corporate data and largely held on to the gains they've made for more than a week.

The major stock indexes were fluctuating in a relatively tight range. The market, which has closed higher in seven of the last eight sessions, appeared to largely take in stride discouraging retail sales reports Thursday and big job cuts at AT&T Inc. and DuPont Co. as well as a weaker-than-expected profit forecast from the drug maker Merck.

Dave Rovelli, managing director of U.S. equity trading at Canaccord Adams in New York, said traders have become somewhat more immune to the parade of terrible economic data since the market's two-day plunge on Nov. 19 and 20 that wiped 873 points, or 10.6 percent, from the Dow Jones industrials. He contends the bad readings have been built into many investors' expectations.

"The mind-set has changed a little. You just don't have that panic selling all day," he said. Rovelli predicts that barring a terrible reading on Friday's November employment report the markets will trade in a narrower range.
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