New York’s pension fund’s rate of return improved significantly in the fiscal year that ended March 31 but didn’t erase the previous year’s steep loses, state Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli said yesterday.

The New York State Common Retirement Fund posted a 25.9% rate of return and grew to $132.6 billion from $109.9 billion in the previous year, according to a preliminary estimate. This time last year, DiNapoli reported a 26.3% drop in the rate of return and a $44 billion drop in the fund’s value as compared to end of fiscal 2008.

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