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A new month usually means new opportunities. And with the volatile third-quarter ending, traders looked ahead to better times. Unfortunately, October is living up to its rough reputation. So, the beginning of the fourth-quarter has been abysmal. Stocks spent much of the week trending lower as several pieces of bad news hit the press wires.
To start with, impeachment proceedings and President Trump’s behavior have continued to baffle traders and made it a hard environment to work through. As the political scene deteriorated, traders continued to fret the potential loss of pro-business policies. This comes on the back of slowing economic data.
This week showed the first real indication that the drumbeat of recession is getting louder. In the U.S., manufacturing and employment data showed some of the worst readings since the recession. Overseas, the news wasn’t any better. Key manufacturing and economic metrics in Germany, China and the European Union all drifted lower on the week. The lack of any progress on the trade war between the U.S. and China didn’t help either, especially after President Trump’s recent remarks.
Meanwhile, earnings have been less than desirable. Earnings season is technically winding down, with several key bellwethers reporting less-than-ideal results coupled with cautious guidance. Add in reported lower rates of dividend and buyback growth and traders spent much of the week raising cash and flooding safe havens.
Be sure to check out our previous Wrap here, when the threat of impeachment hobbled the markets.