NU Online News Service, Dec. 29, 2003, 12:34 p.m. EST – The world investment market rebound improved private pension funding levels in the third quarter, according to analysts at Towers Perrin L.L.P., New York.[@@]

The funding level at the firm’s U.S. benchmark plan is still down 39% from where it was Jan. 1, 2000, but the funding level increased 2% during the third quarter, the analysts report.

The third quarter benchmark funding level fell 1% in the United Kingdom, but benchmark funding levels rose 1% in the “Euro zone,” 2% in Australia and Japan, and 3% in Canada.