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401(k) account balances drop in 3rd quarter due to equities plunge


Employees' 401(k) plan account balances fell 7.4% during the third quarter due to the August plunge in the equities markets, Fidelity Investments said.

The average 401(k) plan account balance was $84,400 as of Sept. 30, down from $91,100 as of June 30, the Boston-based mutual fund provider and 401(k) plan administrator said Friday.

During the August equities market plunge, Fidelity said investors bombarded it with phone calls. For example, when the Dow Jones Industrial Average tumbled nearly 600 points on Monday, Aug. 24, Fidelity said it received 160,000 phone calls from holders of 401(k) plans and individual retirement account balances, one of its busiest days ever.

However, only 4.9% of 401(k) plan participants changed their account balance asset allocation during the volatile third quarter of this year, Fidelity said.