AMR union: Lack of deal threat­ens merger

Traders fo­cus­ing on Washington; Dow falls for fifth straight day.

Austin American-Statesman - - BUSINESS - SETH WENIG / THE AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS Stocks

DAL­LAS — An Amer­i­can Air­lines merger with US Air­ways Group might not oc­cur dur­ing the AMR Corp. unit’s bank­ruptcy un­less pi­lot groups from the car­ri­ers agree on in­terim con­tract terms, Amer­i­can’s pi­lot union says.

If an ac­cord isn’t reached “in the very near fu­ture, in all like­li­hood there will be no merger be­fore Amer­i­can Air­lines ex­its re­struc­tur­ing,” Keith Wil­son, pres­i­dent of the Al­lied Pi­lots As­so­ci­a­tion, said on the union’s web­site.

The agree­ment would set wages, work­ing con­di­tions and terms to pro­tect se­nior­ity un­til a joint con­tract for pi­lots at Fort Worth, Texas-based Amer­i­can and their coun­ter­parts at the US Air­line Pi­lots As­so­ci­a­tion is ne­go­ti­ated, he said.

The pi­lot groups, joined by ex­ec­u­tives from both car­ri­ers, be­gan ne­go­ti­at­ing the ac­cord this month. Amer­i­can, which filed for bank­ruptcy in Nov. 2011, said it prefers to as­sess merg­ers af­ter leav­ing court pro­tec­tion. US Air­ways, based in Ari­zona, has been push­ing for a tie-up since Jan­uary. NEW YORK — Stocks fell for a fifth day on con­cern that Washington law­mak­ers will fail to reach a bud­get deal be­fore a self-im­posed year-end dead­line.

The five-day los­ing streak for the Dow Jones in­dus­trial av­er­age was the long­est since July.

The Dow dropped 158 points to 12,938, with losses ac­cel­er­at­ing in the last 20 min­utes of trad­ing as re­ports cir­cu­lated that Pres­i­dent Barack Obama would not be mak­ing a new bud­get pro­posal in a meet­ing with con­gres­sional lead­ers.

The Stan­dard & Poor 500 in­dex fell 15 points to 1,402, its long­est los­ing streak in three months, and the Nas­daq dropped 25 points to 2,960.

“The re­al­ity, late in the day, is that a deal is just not go­ing to get done,” said Ryan Det­rick, a se­nior tech­ni­cal strate­gist at Scha­ef­fer In­vest­ment Re­search. “We could be greeted by a big sell-off at the start of Jan­uary.”

Obama re­turned from a Christ­mas break in Hawaii to meet with con­gres­sional lead­ers at the White House to try to thrash out the terms of a deal that would pre­vent across-the-board tax in­creases for mil­lions of Amer­i­cans as

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