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TSP Starts 2014 Mostly in the Red

The markets had a tumultuous January, reversing several months of growth.

Weak markets in January snapped a four-month streak of positive growth at the Thrift Savings Plan, with most of the plan’s offerings starting the year in the red.

The I Fund, which invests in international stocks, was TSP’s biggest loser in January, dropping 4.03 percent. The fund is up just 12.21 percent over the last 12 months, despite ending 2013 with more than 22 percent growth.

The C Fund, invested in common stocks, and the S Fund, which is invested in small and midsize companies and tracks the Dow Jones Wilshire 4500 Index, also declined in January. The S Fund remains the strongest performer over the last 12 months -- gaining nearly 27 percent -- but still dropped 1.91 percent in January. The C Fund fell 3.45 percent last month and is up 21.58 percent in the last year.

The F Fund (fixed income), the only TSP offering to end 2013 in the red, made a strong comeback in January, gaining 1.58 percent last month. The fund has increased 0.44 percent during the past 12 months. The G Fund, invested in government securities, continued its steady but modest growth, up 0.21 percent in January and about 2 percent in the last year.

The L, or lifecycle, funds -- designed to move investors to less risky portfolios as the near retirement -- were all down in January. The L Income Fund for TSP participants who already have started withdrawing money dropped 0.42 percent in January. L 2020 decreased 1.57 percent last month; L 2030 fell 2.04 percent; L 2040 was down 2.35 percent; and L 2050 declined 2.71 percent.

During the last 12 months, all the L Funds saw gains. The L Income was up 5.36 percent; L 2020, 11.06 percent; L 2030, 13.66 percent; L 2040, 15.59 percent; and L 2050, 17.34 percent.

(Image via Trzmiel/