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BUSINESS BRIEFLY

Investors who didn't sell in '08 and '09 did better

U.S. investors who sold equities in their retirement accounts during market volatility in 2008 and 2009 did worse than those who stayed in stocks, Fidelity Investments said.

Participants in 401(k) savings plans who dumped stocks from Oct. 1, 2008, to March 31, 2009, when the Standard & Poor's 500 Index fell 31 percent, and hadn't returned to equities as of June 30, 2011, had an average account balance increase of 2 percent, according to the study. Those who maintained some equity allocation during that period saw their balances rise 50 percent on average.

"Staying the course does prove to be an effective strategy in the long term," said Beth McHugh, vice president of market insights for the Boston-based mutual-fund company. "Any move can have a dramatic long-term effect."

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Verizon strikers hold vigil

MENDHAM, N.J. (AP) -- Hundreds of striking Verizon workers held a candlelight vigil outside their CEO's mansion Thursday, hoping to draw a stark contrast between the contract demands of blue-collar workers and the quality of life enjoyed by the company's executives.

Wearing red shirts, singing union songs and chanting "What's disgusting? Union busting," union members lit candles outside Lowell McAdam's home as the sun set on Mendham.

"It makes me sick that Americans have to come out and do this," said Joe Mastrogiovanni, a 29-year-old cable repairman from Piscataway. "We're not asking for more; we're asking to keep what we have."

About 45,000 Verizon land line workers from Massachusetts to Virginia have been striking since Aug. 7, fighting management demands for contract givebacks.

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Burger King retires mascot

MIAMI (AP) -- The king is dead.

Burger King's spooky "The King" mascot is retiring so the struggling burger chain can refocus its marketing to reach new customers. The mascot has been around for years but recently has become a more prevalent and somewhat creepy presence in ads -- showing up in people's beds and peeping in their windows.

The fast food chain, which has suffered declining sales, will roll out a new advertising campaign this weekend sans "The King" that will focus on its burgers. The campaign is the first since Burger King switched advertising agencies in July.

"We won't be seeing The King for a while," a Burger King spokesman said.

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Unions trying to reach deal

The leadership of the pilots union at AirTran Airways voted against the seniority integration agreements in AirTran's merger with Southwest Airlines, sending the unions back to the negotiating table to try to reach a deal.

The move comes as Southwest seeks to move ahead with its integration of AirTran after closing the acquisition in May.

The leadership of Southwest's pilots union in late July unanimously approved the seniority deal to send to its members for a vote, but the master executive council of the Air Line Pilots Association at AirTran voted Thursday against the integration agreements presented by their merger committee.

That leaves the two pilots unions to go into mediation through Sept. 30. If a deal can't be reached through mediated talks, the unions would then go to arbitration, according to the process the two unions agreed on. -- Atlanta Journal-Constitution

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Oil is down 4 percent

Oil ended the day below $83 a barrel Friday, finishing down about 4 percent for the week. That could spell more relief at the gas pump.

The national average for retail gasoline is $3.59 a gallon, according to AAA, Wright Express and Oil Price Information Service. That's down 10 percent from this year's high of $3.98 on May 5.

Gas could be around $3.25 a gallon by Labor Day and may drop as low as $3.15 by the end of the year, according to Fred Rozell, OPIS retail pricing director.

In the Buffalo Niagara region, a gallon of regular averaged $3.80 Friday, down 3 cents from a week ago.

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