October seems to have been a month of mixed messages. After four interest rate rises in 2018, the US Federal Reserve announced an interest rate cut to 1.50% (the third cut this year) citing a slowdown in the US economy, and concerns over trade wars and a global recession.
However, markets have generally been positive last month with risk assets generally outperforming perceived safe havens. The S&P 500 posted another all time high last month, and emerging market equities posted a return of 4.20% during October. Much of this was due to market confidence that trade war concerns were receding with the announcement of a Phase One trade deal between the US and China.
Political uncertainty in the UK has reduced as well with the prospect of a non deal Brexit now looking unlikely, and sterling has rallied against the dollar and euro, but as 70% of revenue from FTSE 100 companies is earned overseas, the improvement in the value of sterling has coincided with a fall in the FTSE 100 last month.
Boris Johnson finally got his wish of another General Election, and the prospect in 2020 of maybe a stable government and perhaps an orderly Brexit would go a long way to establish market confidence after years of political turmoil.