TSP funds stay in the black for October

All the offerings in the federal employee retirement program grew in October, though not at as fast a clip as the month before.

The S Fund led the pack, with a 4.48 percent gain for October. The fund, which invests in small and midsize companies and tracks the Dow Jones Wilshire 4500 Index, also came in first for the year-to-date, boasting 16.7 percent growth.

The C Fund -- invested in common stocks of large companies on the Standard & Poor's 500 Index -- came in second for October, with a 3.8 percent increase. Its 2010 returns were 7.84 percent.

International stocks maintained their momentum as well, with the I Fund growing 3.63 percent for October and 4.91 percent for the year.

While all three stock-based funds made a strong showing in October, they slowed considerably from the previous month, when the S Fund increased 11.47 percent; the I Fund, 9.81 percent; and the C Fund, 8.92 percent.

Fixed-income bonds and traditionally stable government securities inched forward in October, with 0.36 percent and 0.18 percent returns respectively. The F Fund stood out more for its yearlong performance, with its 8.46 percent returns outpacing the C and I funds' 2010 growth. The G Fund gained 2.42 percent for the year.

The Thrift Savings Plan's life-cycle options -- designed to move investors to less risky portfolios as they get closer to retirement -- all posted at least small gains for October. Employees with longer investment horizons fared better for the month, with increases of 3.16 percent for the L 2040 Fund; 2.78 percent for the L 2030; 2.29 percent for L 2020; and 0.92 percent for both L 2010 and L Income, for people who have reached their target retirement date and are withdrawing money from their accounts.

Younger employees with more aggressive life-cycle portfolios also did better for the year to date, with the L 2040 Fund earning 8.47 percent for 2010, the L 2030 up 7.76 percent, the L 2020 at 6.78 percent, the L 2010 at 4.15 percent, and the L Income at 4.23 percent.

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