Large U.S. pension plans were a little closer to being fully funded at the end of 2010 than they were a year earlier, according to consultants at Towers Watson & Company.

The funded status at the 100 publicly traded domestic employers with the largest U.S. pension obligations increased to 83%, from 80% at the end of 2009, according to Towers Watson, New York (NYSE:TW).

The companies pension contributions increased to $40 billion in 2010, from about $30 billion in 2009, and total asset values increased about 10%, to $926 billion.

But low interest rates led to low discount rates, and that increased the value of plan liabilities, Towers Watson consultants say.

- Allison Bell

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