Small and common stocks top August TSP earnings

Only international investments posted losses last month.

Small and common stocks, two of the riskier fund options in the Thrift Savings Plan, led earnings in August, while international investments lost ground.

The S Fund, which invests in the stocks of small- and mid-size U.S. companies, grew the most in August, at 2.17 percent. The fund tracks the Dow Jones Wilshire 4500 Index, which invests in the 4,500 next-largest domestic companies after the 500 tracked by the common stock, or C Fund. The S Fund posted 12-month losses of 6.89 percent.

The C Fund, which tracks Standard & Poor's 500 Index, was the second-highest earner among TSP offerings, with gains of 1.46 percent last month. That increase helped to mitigate the fund's 12-month losses, which were 11.06 percent in August.

The fixed-income bonds in the F Fund also gained last month, posting an increase of 0.92 percent. The fund had 12-month earnings of 6.09 percent in August, the highest of the TSP's basic funds.

The government securities (G) fund, the most reliable TSP offering, earned 0.33 percent last month for a yearlong increase of 4.16 percent.

The international, or I Fund, which invests in stocks in Europe, Australia and some countries in Asia, was the lone loser among the five basic options for August, dropping 4.16 percent. The fund posted 12-month losses in August of 14.71 percent.

Participants in the 401(k)-style federal employee retirement savings plan also can invest in five life-cycle funds, made up of a mix of the underlying basic funds. As participants age, the L funds shift investments from riskier to more conservative blends. L funds with less-risky allocations posted the strongest gains among the five life-cycle funds for August.

L 2040, intended for employees with a target retirement date around the year 2040, gained 0.11 percent. The L 2030 fund earned 0.17 percent; the L 2020 gained 0.16 percent; the L 2010 increased 0.29 percent; and the L Income, designed for those with planned retirements in the very near future, grew 0.35 percent.

Four L funds posted losses for the year. L 2040 lost 8.13 percent; L 2030 fell 6.62 percent; L 2020 was down 4.97 percent; L 2010 lost 0.86 percent. L Income has increased 1.26 percent since August 2007.

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