What shutdown? TSP ends October with strong showing

Friday - 11/1/2013, 11:30am EDT

Fears that the two-week government shutdown and the threat of a catastrophic default on the national debt would roil the stock market and shrink federal employees' retirement accounts turned out to be unfounded.

For the second month in a row, all the funds in the TSP posted in positive territory, according to data released Friday by the Federal Retirement Thrift Investment Board.

The strongest showings among the regular funds, as in months past, were in the C, S and I Funds. (See below for all the funds' performances in October)

The C Fund, pegged to the performance of companies in the S&P 500, rose 4.6 percent and the S Fund, smaller companies not included in the S&P index, was up 2.94 percent. The I Fund, a mix of international stocks ended the month with a 3.38 percent gain.

The F Fund, tracked to the bond market, has struggled to remain in the black much of the year. It inched up 0.89 percent in October, but remains negative — down 0.78 percent — year-to-date.

Despite the budget wrangling on Capitol Hill, October was a strong month for Wall Street. The S&P 500 closed at record high seven times throughout the month, according to the Associated Press.

"The market didn't waver in the face of the shutdown," Anton Bayer, CEO of Up Capital Management, told the AP. "That was huge."

But Wall Street's confidence didn't necessarily rub off on federal employees and retirees, who were quick to move their money out of the stock-indexed funds and into the safety of the Treasury securities-backed G Fund.

Between Oct. 1 and Oct. 16, TSP participants made 128,000 transactions, including fund transfers — compared to 125,000 total transactions for the entire month of September. All told, TSP participants moved about $2 billion into the G Fund during the 16-day shutdown, according to the TSP board.

Some 8,200 TSP participants also pulled money out of their accounts during the shutdown in hardship withdrawals — a 49 percent increase over the same stretch of time last year.

Thrift Savings Plan October 2013 returns

Fund October Year-to-Date Last 12 Months
G Fund 0.19% 1.52% 1.75%
F Fund 0.89% -0.78% -0.75%
C Fund 4.60% 25.34% 27.21%
S Fund 2.94% 31.13% 36.72%
I Fund 3.38% 19.43% 27.22%
L Income 1.01% 5.74% 6.60%
L 2020 2.23% 13.19% 15.42%
L 2030 2.75% 16.53% 19.35%
L 2040 3.11% 19.01% 22.30%
L 2050 3.47% 21.40% 25.22%

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