After suffering their worst month since the outbreak of the coronavirus in September, equity markets bounced back in October, offering some welcome relief for investors. The MSCI World local currency index, which tracks the performance of global equities, picked up 7.14% during the month, although it remains down more than 16% for the year to date.
A notable exception to the general rise in markets was China, which saw its stock market plummet 16.39% during the month according to the MSCI China local currency index, after President Xi Jinping secured a third term in office.
In an eventful month for UK politics, new Chancellor Jeremy Hunt reversed many of the controversial tax cuts unveiled by Kwasi Kwarteng. Prime Minister Liz Truss later resigned after just 45 days in office, with Rishi Sunak replacing her after being the only candidate to secure the required number of party nominations. UK government bonds reacted positively during the month, with the FTSE Gilts All Stocks index picking up over 3%, and the pound also recovered some ground as it gained 2.68% versus the dollar to end the month just under $1.15.
Full round-up of October market performance
In the UK, the FTSE 100 index picked up 2.99% while medium and smaller companies, measured by the FTSE 250 ex IT index and the FTSE Small Cap ex IT index respectively, rose 5.63% and 0.75%. In the US, the S&P 500 USD index climbed 8.10% while in Europe the Eurostoxx 50 EUR index rallied 9.10%. Japanese stocks measured by the Topix JPY index delivered 5.10%.
Emerging markets returns were mixed, with the MSCI Emerging Markets index losing 2.61% in local currency terms. The decline was led by China, with the MSCI China local index sinking 16.39%. Meanwhile Indian stocks measured by the Nifty 50 INR index rose 5.37% and Latin American equities, measured by the MSCI Latin America local currency index, gathered 7.19%.
In the fixed income market, UK government bonds, measured by the FTSE Gilts All Stocks index, gained 3.12%, with long dated (over 15 years to maturity) gilts picking up 2.43%. Sterling denominated corporate bonds, measured by the Markit iBoxx Sterling Corporates index, increased 4.63%. In the high yield market, the Bank of America Merrill Lynch Sterling High Yield index climbed 2.47%.
There were mostly positive returns in the commodities market. The S&P GSCI USD index, which consists of a basket of commodities including oil, metals and agricultural items, rose 6.70%. Crude oil futures gained 8.86% during the month. In the agricultural markets, corn and wheat futures delivered 2.07% and -4.26% in USD respectively. In the precious metals markets, the S&P GSCI Gold and Silver indices returned -1.56% and 0.74% in USD respectively.
In the currency markets, it was a better month for the pound as it appreciated 2.68% versus the US dollar, 1.85% against the euro and 5.53% versus the yen.