Mixed results for markets and commodities in October

Company News

by Glenn Dyer

In October, some markets experienced positive gains, but the story was quite different for key commodities, including major ones. Oil and copper faced harsh realities, and despite gold briefly surpassing $2,000 per ounce, it quickly retreated.

Iron ore and coking coal held up for Australian exporters, but thermal coal prices hit their lowest point since mid-2021, dropping 8% in the final days of October.

However, some markets ended the month on a positive note. Wall Street saw gains in the S&P 500, Nasdaq, and the Dow, while the ASX 300 in Australia and Europe's Stoxx 600 also closed in the green.

Tokyo ended with gains, but Hong Kong and Chinese markets fell due to weak economic data.

Oil prices, which had shown gains in October, slipped, with both US and Brent crudes reaching two-month lows as concerns about future demand overshadowed Middle East tensions.

Gold couldn't hold onto the $2,000 level and dipped below due to high bond yields and a strong US dollar.

Comex copper had a modest gain in October despite weak Chinese economic data.

Stocks posted their third-straight losing month, with the Dow and S&P 500 falling 1.4% and 2.2%, respectively, marking the first three-month losing streak since March 2020.

Nasdaq also dropped 2.8%, and October's losses came amid a rapid rise in Treasury yields, with the 10-year US Treasury yield reaching 5% for the first time since 2007.

The US dollar remained strong throughout the month, with the Aussie dollar gaining slightly.

Tech giants like Tesla, Nvidia, Alphabet, and Apple faced declines in October.

Wall Street energy stocks slumped, and Exxon Mobile and Chevron saw significant declines following their merger announcements.

Despite strong consumer-driven growth in the US, the consumer discretionary sector on Wall Street had a tough October, falling more than 4%.

Iron ore and coking coal futures prices showed some improvement, but Australian thermal coal prices hit a two-year low.

A relatively quiet day was expected on Wednesday, but the US Federal Reserve was set to release its decision on interest rates, potentially impacting November's outlook.

Glenn Dyer

Glenn Dyer has been a finance journalist and TV producer for more than 40 years. He has worked at Maxwell Newton Publications, Queensland Newspapers, AAP, The Australian Financial Review, The Nine Network and Crikey.

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