All TSP funds increase in April

All the funds in the Thrift Savings Plan posted significant gains in April, some rising by double digits. Those increases mean that five of the TSP's 10 offerings have grown in value since the beginning of 2009, helping to make up for earlier losses.

The S Fund, which invests in small- and mid-size companies and tracks the Dow Jones Wilshire 4500 Index, posted the largest gains in April, rising 15 percent. Since the beginning of 2009, the fund's value is up 2.98 percent, though significant losses in the financial downturn last fall mean it's still down 33.35 percent from the same time in 2008.

The I Fund, invested in companies in Europe, Asia and Australia, rose 12.13 percent last month, but its value is down 4.97 percent since the beginning of 2009, and at a 43.06 percent deficit over the past 12 months, the largest loss of any fund in the plan.

The C Fund, which invests in common stocks of large companies on the Standard & Poor's 500 Index and had the biggest gains of any fund in March, again posted strong returns in April, surging 9.58 percent. The fund is down 2.41 percent in 2009, and 35.26 since April 2008.

The G Fund of government securities and the F Fund, which invests in fixed-income bonds, made smaller gains in April, but rose in value since January 2009 and during the past year. The G Fund inched up 0.21 percent in April, while the F Fund rose 0.49 percent. The G Fund is up 0.85 percent since the beginning of 2009 and 3.45 percent since April 2008, while the F Fund is up 0.62 percent and 3.93 percent during the past year.

All five life-cycle funds got a boost in April, though all also have lost value during the past 12 months. The L funds are designed to move participants from riskier, but potentially higher yielding investments early in their careers to a more conservative mix as they reach retirement.

The L 2040 Fund, which is the riskiest mix of investments, increased 9.38 percent in April; the L 2030 Fund was up 8.20 percent; the L 2020 Fund experienced a 6.79 percent hike; the L 2010 Fund rose 3.20 percent; and the L Income Fund, the most stable option for enrollees about to retire, received a 2.37 percent boost.

Since the beginning of 2009, the L 2040 Fund is down 1.07 percent; the L 2030 Fund has fallen 0.69 percent, and the L 2020 Fund has decreased 0.39 percent. The L 2010 Fund has risen 0.29 percent and the L Income Fund is up 0.63 percent. During the past year, all the L funds have lost value. The L 2040 Fund has decreased 29.88 percent; the L 2030 Fund has tanked 25.91 percent; the L 2020 Fund has lost 21.42 percent of its value; the L 2010 Fund is down 9.62 percent; and the L Income Fund lost 4.71 percent of its value.

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