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Market Attributes: U.S. Equity Indices Get Howard Silverblatt's take on the latest monthly performance of the U.S. equity market.
BY Howard Silverblatt

• The S&P 500® was down 6.94% in October, bringing the YTD return to 1.43%.

• The Dow Jones Industrial Average® lost 5.07% for the month and was up 1.60% YTD.

• The S&P MidCap 400® was down 9.63% for the month and down 3.97% YTD.

• The S&P SmallCap 600® was down 10.54% in October and up 1.46% YTD.


The nice way to put it was that the S&P 500, and the world, took a little off the top this month, but a USD 1.653 trillion loss for the index (current market value is USD 22.926 trillion) and USD 4.448 trillion for the world (USD 51.298 trillion) do seem to be more than a little. Alternatively, the headline news mostly put it that the sky was falling (not Sky PLC stock, which is being acquired for USD 38.8 billion by Comcast [CMCSA], with financing via a USD 32 billion loan, with some of it tied to the LIBOR), and that canned foods could be a good investment.

The cause of the rout, in retrospect, is still not known, but everyone has an opinion and view. President Trump blamed the Fed’s rate increases, declaring that they have “gone crazy”; bond vigilantes said rates remained low but appeared to have bottomed out (meaning prices can only go down); economists said it was investor sentiment and trading, since the economy is on track and can handle slowly increasing interest rates and moderate growth; and strategists pointed to trade issues (China) and geopolitical changes (restrictive and nationalistic moves toward the right). Politics also got into the act, as some cited immigration or the mid-term election and painted an “us versus them” view as causing the market volatility (and decline).

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