Stocks ended lower on Wall Street Monday, but major indexes still wound up with big gains for October, including the best month for the Dow Jones Industrial Average since 1976. The broader S&P 500, the benchmark for many index funds, had its first monthly gain since July, as did the Nasdaq composite. The S&P 500 fell 29.08 points, or 0.7%, to 3,871.98 Monday. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 128.85 points, or 0.4%, to 32,732.95. The Nasdaq fell 114.31 points, or 1%, to 10,988.15. The Dow soared 13.95% in October as investors turned toward traditional companies, including banks, CNBC reports. The S&P 500 gained around 8% and the Nasdaq gained 3.9%.
Stocks gained ground throughout the month as investors shifted their focus to the latest round of corporate earnings. More than half of the companies within the S&P 500 have reported results and shown overall earnings growth of 2.3%, according to FactSet. Companies have so far given investors a mixed bag of results and forecasts as Wall Street tries to get a better picture of the economy, the AP reports. Inflation remains stubbornly hot and the Federal Reserve has been raising interest rates aggressively to try and slow down the economy and tame high prices. The strategy risks hitting the brakes too hard on economic growth and sending the economy into a recession.
Investors this week will be watching for another extra-large interest rate increase from the Fed. The widespread expectation is for it to push through another increase that’s triple the usual size next week. Wall Street is roughly split on whether it will do the same in December or shift to a smaller increase, according to CME Group. "Markets are itching to see a peak in this year’s aggressive hiking cycles but it would be a mistake to expect central banks will call an early end to their fight against inflation," analysts at JP Morgan wrote in a research note. Wall Street still has plenty of earnings to review from big companies this week. Pfizer will report its results on Tuesday, followed by CVS on Wednesday. Starbucks reports its results on Thursday. (Read more stock market stories.)