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Cigna to acquire HealthSpring Inc.

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) -- Cigna Corp. will buy fellow health insurer HealthSpring Inc. in a $3.8 billion deal as it becomes the latest managed-care company to snap up a bigger share of the fast-growing Medicare Advantage market.

Cigna, based in Bloomfield, Conn., also said Monday it raised its earnings expectations for 2011 and moved up its third-quarter earnings report to Friday from Nov. 3.

HealthSpring shares soared more than 33 percent Monday, or $13.55, to close at $53.71, near the $55-per-share deal price. Cigna stock rose 64 cents to $45.34, and broader trading indexes rose less than 3 percent.

Cigna's acquisition is the latest in a series of deals made by health insurers to expand their Medicare Advantage businesses, which are growing at a faster rate than commercial insurance as baby boomers become eligible for them.

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Caterpillar sees growth

NEW YORK (AP) -- Strong demand for construction and mining equipment should boost Caterpillar Inc.'s revenue through next year, even as the health of global economy remains in doubt.

The company's optimistic forecast followed double-digit growth in third-quarter earnings and revenue, which it reported Monday. The robust quarter and outlook lifted the stock price of the Peoria, Ill.-based company by 5 percent, a much bigger gain than the broader market.

Caterpillar, which makes everything from black-and-yellow excavators and harvesters to diesel-electric locomotives, earned $1.14 billion, or $1.71 per share, between June and September. That was up 44 percent from $792 million, or $1.22 per share, a year earlier.

Revenue surged 41 percent to $15.72 billion.

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New rule on advice

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) -- The Department of Labor on Monday issued a new regulation designed to improve access to expert investment advice for workers with 401(k) and individual retirement accounts.

The rule makes it easier for providers of 401(k) plans such as Charles Schwab, Vanguard, and Principal Financial to offer individual account advice and bundle it with other retirement services.

Currently, an employer might offer a Vanguard 401(k), for example, but to offer advice, the employer is required to contract with a separate independent investment adviser to comply with regulations against conflicts of interest.

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Coal company acquired

LUXEMBOURG (AP) -- Peabody Energy Corp. and Luxembourg-based ArcelorMittal say they have acquired controlling interest in an Australian coal company for a price reportedly in excess of $5 billion [euro 3.62 billion].

Peabody, the U.S.-based world's largest private-sector coal company, and ArcelorMittal, the world's largest steelmaker, said Monday they now control nearly 60 percent of the shares of Macarthur Coal Ltd. and will appoint representatives to the Macarthur board.

Macarthur is a major producer of pulverized coal, which is coveted by steel producers.

PEAMCoal Pty Ltd., the holding company now controlling 59.85 percent of the Macarthur shares, is 60 percent owned by Peabody and 40 percent owned by ArcelorMittal.