February 13, 2018 / 12:05 AM / a year ago

UPDATE 1-CalPERS loses 4.6 pct in recent market maelstrom

(Adds details about stock market performance)

By Laila Kearney

NEW YORK, Feb 12 (Reuters) - California Public Employees’ Retirement System (CalPERS), the largest U.S. public pension fund, lost 4.6 percent in value during the stock market’s recent tumble, and investment risks are expected to persist, officials said on Monday.

The drop in stocks from an all-time high on Jan. 26 to Friday followed a booming year for the market and for CalPERS, which recorded a rate of return on investment of 15.7 percent in 2017.

The equities portion of CalPERS’ $345.39 billion portfolio, was up 24 percent in the last calendar year, CalPERS’ Chief Investment Officer Ted Eliopoulos said at a board meeting in Sacramento, California.

“Last week we were seeing the beginning of a market environment that may be shifting,” Eliopoulos said. “It looks like 2018 is likely to be more turbulent.”

CalPERS’ investment diversity helped it to avoid the nearly 9 percent drop seen in the stock market’s benchmark S&P 500 index over the recent two-week period, Eliopoulos said.

Rising interest rates, U.S. tax cuts and increased spending are top areas of concern in the next couple of years, CalPERS chief economist John Rothfield said during the meeting, which was broadcast over the internet. (Reporting by Laila Kearney; Editing by Daniel Bases, Phil Berlowitz and Cynthia Osterman)

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