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October was more trick than treat for the stock market

Global stocks took a battering over the past 31 days, ending the month down by around $5 trillion in value.
Image: Gregory Rowe
Trader Gregory Rowe works on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange on Oct. 23, 2018. Stocks are opening sharply lower on Wall Street following big drops in Asia and Europe.Richard Drew / AP

October lived up to its reputation as the scariest month for the stock market, with some Wall Street indices seeing their worst performance in a decade.

Amid geopolitical strife, trade tensions, fear of rising interest rates, and a massive tanking in tech stocks, October was the most dire month for the Dow Jones since 2016, for the S&P 500 since 2011, and for the Nasdaq since 2008.

However, underlying economic indicators remain strong. Friday’s jobs report from the Department of Labor is expected to indicate a continued unemployment rate of 3.7 percent — the lowest in five decades — and a monthly jobs gain of around 190,000 for October.

Additionally, wages are now at their highest point since 2008, according to government data released Wednesday. And with 7.1 million open positions, employers will likely need to push up those compensation packages even further in order to attract and maintain workers.

“The labor market is booming,” said Mary Daly, head of the San Francisco Federal Reserve, in a speech last month. “It’s beyond almost anyone’s measure of full employment.”

But the U.S. wasn't the only market on a roller coaster ride during October — global stocks took a battering over the past 31 days, ending the month down by around $5 trillion.

Alphabet, Facebook, and Netflix all struggled, with Amazon hardest hit in the tech sector, dropping by 25 percent from recent highs after reporting a weaker-than-expected holiday retail outlook in its quarterly earnings call.

Investors will be closely watching market leader Apple on Thursday, when the tech giant is set to report its quarterly earnings after the closing bell.