November a gloomy month for all but two TSP funds

Two Thrift Savings Plan funds made slight gains in November, and losses in other funds were smaller than those during major market drops in October.

The F Fund, a portfolio of fixed-income bonds, boasted gains of 3.3 percent in November, bringing its 2008 growth to 1.66 percent, and its increase during the past 12 months to 1.91 percent.

The government securities (G) fund -- the plan's most stable offering -- grew 0.31 percent in November, and has risen 3.5 percent since the beginning of 2008. Its value is up 3.93 percent since November 2007.

The G and F funds are the only TSP offerings that have seen their values rise during the past 12 months.

But the good news is while the other TSP funds suffered losses again in November, the declines weren't as steep as in October. The S Fund, which invests in small- and mid-size U.S. companies and tracks the Dow Jones Wilshire 4500 Index, fell 11.13 percent in November, compared to 20.99 percent in October. The fund's overall value is down 41.07 percent since January 2008, and 41.31 percent since November 2007.

The C Fund, which tracks Standard & Poor's 500 Index, fell 7.18 percent in November, after a decline of 16.83 percent in October. Its value is down 37.66 percent for 2008, and 38.07 percent for the past 12 months.

The I Fund, which invests in European, Asian and Australian companies, saw its value decline 6.72 percent in November. That marks a comeback from September, when the I Fund suffered the largest losses of any TSP offering, and October, when it was second only to the S Fund in losses. The blend of international stocks has lost 46.52 percent of its value in 2008, and is down 47.73 percent since November 2007.

The life-cycle (L) funds, which move investors from riskier but more aggressive investments in the early stages of their careers to conservative and stable investments as they near retirement, all reported losses in November. The L 2040 dropped 5.85 percent, the L 2030 fell 4.96 percent, the L 2020 declined 3.91 percent, the L 2010 lost 1.58 percent, and the L Income was down 0.84 percent.

All those funds have lost value since the beginning of 2008 and during the past 12 months. The L 2040 option is down 33.93 percent since the start of 2008 and 34.47 percent since November 2007. The L 2030 Fund has fallen 29.77 percent since January, and 30.21 percent during the past 12 months. The L 2020 offering slid 24.89 percent in 2008 and is down 25.29 percent in the past year. The L 2010 Fund has fallen 11.99 percent since January and 12.10 percent since November 2007. And the L Income Fund has lost 6.23 percent of its value in 2008 and 6.16 percent in the past year.

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