Pension plans sponsored by S&P 1500 companies saw their deficits grow to $488 billion by the end of May, wiping out the positive performance they had achieved in the first quarter, according to New York-based consulting firm Mercer.

The problem was two-fold, as the value of equities fell, and future bond liabilities because rose of falling interest rates, according to Mercer. U.S. equity markets fell 6% during May as measured by the S&P 500 total return index.

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