The report shows that pension assets grew 13.6% in 2004 while obligations rose 11.8% and 55 issues in the S&P 500 were overfunded while 311 were underfunded. An S&P press release compares these figures with the status in 1999 where 296 issues when overfunded with a surplus of $280 billion and 86 were underfunded.
“In spite of the continued underfunding, companies on aggregate have sufficient proceeds, both on hand and via the capital markets, to meet current pension obligations,” Harold Silverblatt, S&P Equity Market Analyst, said in the release.
David Blitzer, Managing Director and Chairman of the Index Committee at S&P, believes rising interest rates in 2005 will help increase pension funding, but not enough to alleviate the shortage.
The press release can be found at www.standardandpoors.com .