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Stock market news: S&P 500 worst month since financial crisis



Sean Connery Hunt for red october

  • The S&P 500 is set to finish the month having had
    its worst October since the 2008 financial crisis.
  • Benchmark US index has lost around 8.5% in October, the
    biggest monthly drop since February 2009.
  • Both the Dow Jones and Nasdaq have also endured major
  • Concerns ranging from a US-China trade war, Federal
    Reserve interest rate policy and a slowdown in global growth
    led to a wave of heavy selling.
  • Global stocks have also slumped, with the MSCI
    All-World Index losing 4.5%.

Stocks are set to end October having endured the worst month for
the S&P 500 since February 2009 and the worst October since
the 2008 financial crisis. The benchmark US index is set to drop
about 8.5%, only outdone by the 16.8% loss the index witnessed in
2008, just weeks after the collapse of Lehman Brothers. 

The month was plagued by bad news but lacked a clear catalyst.
Concerns ranging from a US-China trade war, Federal Reserve
interest rate policy and a slowdown in global growth led to a
wave of heavy selling in the S&P, as well as the Dow Jones
and the Nasdaq.

Selling was not limited to the US, with Chinese stocks
plummeting, and the MSCI All-World index dropping about 10%
across October.

In the US in particular, the biggest concern for investors
is that after years of monetary stimulus and a short-term boost
from the Trump administration’s tax cuts, more rate rises and
lower bond prices will ultimately bring the US economy to a

Growth is still going strong,
but many believe that will flip
soon, particularly when factoring in the potential negative
impact of President Trump’s trade war, which by some measures is

already starting to hurt the domestic economy.

Another factor for the markets is the slowing Chinese
economy, which after a decade or more of blockbuster growth is
reaching maturity, bringing with it smaller increases in GDP.

Debt levels in China are also huge
, another major concern for
many in the markets.

China’s current account balance is down significantly from last
year’s 1.3% and will likely turn into a small deficit in 2019. If
so that would be the first time in 24 years.

“The larger the stimulus used by China to offset the trade war
impact, the bigger will its deficit likely be,” UBS’s Tao Wang,
chief China economist, said in a report earlier in the month.

That may hurt confidence and hasten outflows, putting pressure on
the nation’s currency.

“Although CNY depreciation can partially offset trade war
impact, a large depreciation will likely hurt domestic
confidence, trigger panic outflows and risk financial stability,”
UBS said.

The tail end of October has seen an additional negative
driver, particularly for the Nasdaq, as disappointing earnings
reports from the US tech giants AmazonGoogle,
and Snap helped
to further drag down sentiment.

Oil prices are also a major concern, with the combination
of looming sanctions against Iran, and the possibility that Saudi
Arabia will choke output in response to international outcry over
the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi in the country’s
consulate in Istanbul, leading some to believe prices could
ratchet higher in coming months.

High oil prices tend to stunt economic growth, particularly
in developing markets where increasing oil consumption is a key
driver of rapid growth. Brent traded as high as $84 per barrel in
early October, and while it has now fallen around 9% to $76 per
barrel, that remains an elevated level compared to the past four

Stocks may have witnessed a horror month, but look likely
to bounce a little on October’s final day, with the S&P 500
set to gain about 0.7% once markets open at 9.30 a.m. in New

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