How did stocks fare in January? Very well indeed, thank you.
For the broader stock market averages, the Dow Jones Industrial Average and the S&P 500 both had their biggest monthly gains since October 2015. The S&P 500 went up 7.9% in January. This is its best start to the year since 1987.
The best return for this month was the S fund with a return of 11.64%. All of the TSP funds were up in January.
Best January Return Ever for the C Fund
For Thrift Savings Plan (TSP) investors there is also good news. The C fund is based on the S&P 500 index. The C fund went up 8.01% in January. For those who may be wondering when the C fund last went up at least 8% in January, don’t spend a lot of time looking. It has never gone up 8% in January.
The best return for the C fund in January was 7.14% and that was in 1989. For those who like to engage in wishful thinking or believe the past is prologue to the future, in 1989 the C fund for the year was up more than 31%. That is not the highest yearly return the C fund has experienced but it is near the top. (The highest yearly return for the C fund was 37.4% in 1995.)
Comparing January Returns to “Best Ever” Monthly Returns
What are the best monthly returns for the C and the S funds? While January 2019 was very good, these two funds have performed a little better. Overall, the best monthly return for the C fund was 11.4% in December 1991.
The best monthly performance for the S fund was 15% in April 2009.
For those looking for a little cheer this winter, this may help. In 1991, when the C fund had its best monthly return, that fund had a yearly return of 30.77%.
In 2009, when the S fund had its best monthly return of all time, that fund returned 34.85% for the year.
Will 2019 bring similar good news to TSP investors? We have no idea. All we know is that 2019 is off to a good start for those with money in the TSP.
Monthly and 12 Month TSP Returns
|G Fund||F Fund||C Fund||S Fund||I Fund|
|L Income||L 2020||L 2030||L 2040||L 2050|
TSP Transfers in December: Surge into G Fund
January was a good month for the stock market although 2018 was not a profitable year for stocks overall. TSP investors apparently anticipated further drops in the stock market during December.
About 6.2 billion was transferred into the G fund during December. Almost $2.9 billion was transferred out of the C fund and about $1.9 billion was transferred out of the S fund. $1.4 billion was transferred out of the lifecycle funds and $442 million was transferred out of the I fund.
Loans and Hardship Withdrawals
The TSP was involved in activity changes as a result of the partial government shutdown.
Since December 26, 2018, compared to data for the previous year, loans increased by 5% and hardship withdrawals increased by 26%.
Also, the TSP “contact centers” experienced an increase during the shutdown of about 5% in call volumes, email and written correspondence. As much as 80% of all contacts had a question or made reference to the partial government shutdown.
January 2019 stock market returns are off to a great start. We wish all TSP investors many happy returns throughout the year.