Stocks closed higher today in yet another volatile session, ending a tumultuous month in which more than $9.5 trillion in worldwide stock value was erased.
The Dow Jones industrial average ended todays session up 144.32, or 1.57%, at 9,325.01; the S&P 500 rose 14.66, or 1.54%, closing at 968.75; and the Nasdaq composite was up 22.43, or 1.32%, to close at 1,720.95. All numbers are preliminary.
Investors shrugged off yet more pessimistic economic news, as the Commerce Department reported that personal spending fell by 0.3% last month, the biggest decline since June 2004. However, the September decline was expected. Instead, signs of further thawing in credit markets, combined with a bounce in some key blue chip stocks, encouraged buyers.
Todays gains did little to turn around a month of major declines. As of this afternoon, the S&P 500 was down 17% for the month and 34% below the start of the year. The Dow, meanwhile, fell 20 out of 23 trading sessions during the month and saw a 14% drop for the month, the biggest decline for any October since 1987 when the Black Monday crash sent the Dow falling 23% for the month.
While light, sweet crude oil closed today at $67.81 per barrel, up 2.8%, it finished 32.6% lower for the month, the biggest monthly loss on record.