North Carolina's public employee pension funds saw a more than 6 percent decline in the third quarter -- losses that State Treasurer Janet Cowell attributes to stock market fluctuation related to instability in Europe and economic weakness in several countries.
Cowell announced Monday the loss for the three months ending Sept. 30 was amplified by a nearly 18 percent decline in the funds' global equity portfolio. The losses were offset somewhat by positive returns for investments like bonds, real estate and alternative investments.
Cowell says decisions to diversify investments have lowered risk for the pension funds, which cover more than 850,000 employees and retirees.
The funds -- valued at almost $70 billion on Sept. 30 -- have seen a negative return of 1.6 percent during 2011.