UPS shift to mark-to-market pension accounting method

United Parcel Service Inc. is changing the way it accounts for gains and losses related to its pension plans. The change has no effect on the actual pension plans.

The shipping company will switch to recording pension-related gains and losses each year, rather than spreading the impact over several years. It follows several other major companies that have recently adopted the accounting method, such as AT&T Inc and International Business Machines Corp.

The accounting change will reduce fourth-quarter earnings by 51 cents a share, but should raise adjusted earnings by 3 cents. Full-year earnings will be reduced by 41 cents, but adjusted earnings will rise by 12 cents.

The company previously forecast adjusted earnings of $4.15 to $4.40 for the year.

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