Market Update 10/31/22

Mark Amstislavskiy

Market results were mixed from Oct. 25 through Oct. 31, as investors continued to digest corporate earnings reports.

Major indexes rose following data released on Tuesday, with signs suggesting the housing market is cooling. Treasury yields fell, making stock returns more attractive while also giving investors hope that inflation may be coming under control.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 1.1%, the Nasdaq Composite rose 2.25% and S&P 500 rose 1.6%.

But optimism was short lived as unfavorable earnings reports from technology giants Alphabet Inc. and Microsoft Corp. sent their stock valuations falling 9.1% and 7.7%, respectively.

As a result, markets were mostly down on Wednesday. The Dow notched a small gain of 0.01%, while the Nasdaq fell 2% and S&P 500 fell 0.7%

“These companies are really important bellwethers on advertising and on flows of goods and services,” Fahad Kamal, the chief investment officer at private bank Kleinwort Hambros, told Morningstar. “If advertising growth is slowing over there, it is adding weight to that fear of an earnings slowdown.”

Sentiments were mixed on Thursday, as the U.S. Department of Commerce released data that showed a 2.6% growth in the annualized gross domestic product in the third quarter. Despite signs of economic resilience, lackluster performances from Big Tech companies continue to weigh on stock prices.

Earnings reports from Facebook’s parent company Meta Platforms Inc. once again showed a steep drop in revenues, sending stock valuations plummeting 25%. The Dow gained 0.6%, while the Nasdaq fell 1.6% and S&P 500 shed 0.6%.

“Some of the tech earnings have been very disappointing… suggesting the economy is slowing,” Sebastian Mackay, who is the multi-asset fund manager at Invesco, told The Wall Street Journal.

A turnaround happened on Friday as Apple Inc., Exxon Mobil Corp. and Chevron Corp. reported quarterly revenues that were higher than expected. New economic data also showed that consumer spending has remained resilient, while inflation — which is measured by the personal consumption expenditures index — was down from last month.

The Dow, the Nasdaq and the S&P 500 all ended the week in the green, gaining 2.6%, 2.9% and 2.5%, respectively.

Still, the poor performance of technology stocks could be an indication of an imminent economic slowdown.

“My gut feeling is that tech companies are leading where other companies will follow in the coming months,” Dan Boardman-Weston, who is the CEO of BRI Wealth Management, told Morningstar.

Markets tumbled again on Monday as last week’s earnings reports continued to push technology stocks down. The Dow, Nasdaq and S&P 500 lost 0.4%, 1% and 0.75%, respectively.

But all three indexes are still well in the green for October, with the Dow up over 14% during the month.

Despite the recent focus on earnings reports, the primary concern for markets remains the pace of future rate increases. Investors will look to the Federal Reserve’s Nov. 2 meeting to determine its plan for future rate increases.