NISA Investment Advisors' Pension Surplus Risk index stepped back in March to 7.5% from 7.6% in February.
The index had experienced its largest increase in February, to 7.6% from 7.1%, since the August 2015 market crash.
The volatilities of the asset and liability components moved opposite to each other. Asset volatility rose 30 basis points to 9.1%, while the volatility of liabilities fell 30 basis points to 7.4%. Market jitters surrounding a potential trade war with China and crises threatening Facebook Inc. and Amazon.com Inc., two of the largest U.S. companies, had significantly affected market volatility in February and it carried over into March.
The average funded status slid to 88.7% from 89.4% during the month after reaching 90% in January, its highest reading since the end of 2013.
The index is a forward-looking estimate of the funded status volatility of the 100 largest corporate pension plans as determined by NISA from publicly available information.