The funded ratio of pension plans sponsored by S&P 1500 companies remained stable in October at 91 percent, according to Mercer.

This funded ratio corresponds to a deficit of $185 billion as of Oct. 31, 2013, up slightly from $182 billion a month ago, Mercer found. This is a significant reduction from the estimated deficit of $557 billion as of Dec. 31, 2012.

Despite volatility in both the equity markets and interest rates due to the government shutdown and debt ceiling talks, the S&P 500 index increased 4.5 percent and yields on high-grade corporate bond rates (which are used to measure liabilities) fell after congress passed the bill to raise the debt ceiling.

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