The California Public Employees› Retirement System, the largest U.S. public pension fund, said it lost 2.4 percent in the 12 months ended June 30, as stock declines caused its worst performance in six years. The performance of the fund, with $239 billion in assets, compared with a 19 percent gain in the previous fiscal year. Calpers, as the fund is known, said its stock portfolio lost 10.7 percent.
Merrill Lynch in a June report said public pension funds are expected to lose on average 5.1 percent, mostly because of lower global stock prices triggered by turbulence in the credit markets. The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index of stocks declined 15 percent during the fiscal year, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 16 percent. The MSCI World Index, excluding the U.S., was off 9.7 percent.