The 100 largest defined benefit pension plans of publicly traded companies lost $95 billion in value in November, putting pension funding at 84.7%, a 20% drop in funding levels since the beginning of the year, according to the Milliman 100 Pension Funding Index.
In the last few months, asset losses have been tempered by liability gains, but that was not the case in November, John Ehrhardt, co-author of the index, said in a news release. The losses suffered in November are the highest so far this year and will result in a $60 billion hit to earnings in 2009.
Millman projects the 100 largest pension funds will drop to 84.1% by the end of the year. Milliman estimated the pension funds held a $61 billion surplus at the end of 2007, but this year the funds are projected to fall to a $180 billion deficit, for a total loss of $241 billion, Mr. Ehrhardt said in an interview.