U.S. corporate pensions see highest funding level in two years: Wilshire

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NEW YORK (Reuters) – U.S. corporate pensions’ ability to meet future payouts improved to the strongest level in two years July as most of their investments appreciated, led by Wall Street’s record run, Wilshire Consulting data released on Wednesday showed.

The aggregate funding ratio of the company pensions Wilshire tracks rose to 84.3 percent last month, the highest reading since 86.1 percent in July 2015.

This measure of company plans’ ability to meet future payouts to their retired employees was 83.3 percent in June and 76.0 percent a year earlier.

“July’s increase was driven by the increase in asset values resulting from positive returns for most asset classes as equity indices notched multiple record closes throughout the month,” Ned McGuire, vice president at Wilshire Consulting, said in a statement.

Wilshire, based in Santa Monica, California, consults on investments for corporate and public pensions with combined assets of nearly $1 trillion.

Asset values, including those of stocks and bonds in the pensions, rose by 1.3 percent in July, led by a 1.9 percent gain in the Wilshire 5000 Total Market Index, the firm said.

Their liabilities, or payouts promised to retired workers, rose by 0.3 percent due to a fall in yields on corporate bonds, Wilshire said.

(Reporting by Richard Leong; Editing by Jonathan Oatis)

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