October 31, 2014 Fortune
With Friday’s market-wide rally, U.S. stocks ended the week and the month surprisingly more healthy than most people probably thought they would a few weeks ago.
News of the Bank of Japan’s increased stimulus boosted investor confidence in the global economy, sending stocks soaring around the world higher and pushing the Dow Jones and S&P indexes to record closes. Meanwhile, the Nasdaq composite hit its highest point of the year.
The markets are closing out a tumultuous month that featured a number of dramatic sell-offs and rebounds as investors worried about a series of global crises, including the U.S.-led airstrikes in Syria, Hong Kong protests and Ebola. Markets were also in flux thanks to concern over the outlook of the global economy as well as fears that the U.S. Federal Reserve would raise interest rates sooner than expected.
Here are some numbers that show what a wild month October has been:
— The Dow Jones’ lowest point of the month was 15,855 on October 15, when it sank below the 16,000-point mark on a day when the index was at one point down by about 460 points.
— The Dow Jones’ highest point of the month was today, obviously, when the blue-chip index hit a peak of 17,395. That’s a swing of 1,540 points within the month of October.
— The difference between the highest and lowest marks for the S&P 500 was almost 200 points, while the Nasdaq moved by almost 515 points.
— The Dow Jones fell on 12 days in October and rose on 11, out of 23 trading days. On 16 of those days, the index moved by at least 100 points.
— The mid-point of October was the essentially the nadir for the three major indices. In the last two weeks of October, the Dow Jones gained 6.1%, the S&P 500 rose by 7% and the Nasdaq jumped by almost 9%.
— The Chicago Board Options Exchange Volatility Index (VIX), which is known as the “fear index,” fluctuated wildly throughout the month – starting October around 16 points, then crossing the 30-point mark mid-way through the month before ending Friday around 14 points.
But, in spite of all of the ups-and-downs, two straight weeks of gains, capped by Friday’s market-wide rally, has left the three major indices well ahead for the month. Nasdaq had the best month of the lot, gaining 3.2% in October. The Dow Jones ended up gaining 2% for the month while the S&P 500 was up 2.4%.