The S&P 500 index fell 2.7 percent in October on mounting tensions around the election outcome, a rise in the number of COVID-19 cases, and a complete stall in the next round of Congressional stimulus (CARES Act II). Clearly, politics is front and center, and likely will be until a clear winner emerges.
Interest rates on the 10-year U.S. Treasury Note rose from 0.69 percent at the end of September to 0.88 on October 30, 2020. Meanwhile, the price of a barrel of oil (West Texas Intermediate) fell from over $40 to about $35 in a month due to the continued decline in demand.
The initial CARES Act provided much needed support to households and businesses as a result of forced shutdowns, which included expanded unemployment insurance benefits. The enhanced federal unemployment payment of $600 a week ended on July 31, 2020, although some state benefits extend until year-end.