Stocks on Wall Street climbed to record levels in October on bets that the Federal Reserve would keep its stimulus going until at least the New Year.
The S&P 500 soared to all-time highs in October, despite a 16-day partial government shutdown and the threat of a U.S. default on its sovereign debt.
The index has advanced in 10 of the past 12 months and is up nearly 24 percent year-to-date, putting it on pace for its best annual performance in a decade. The Dow Jones Industrials Average also rallied in October and is up nearly 20 percent so far this year.
While last month’s legislative debacle in Washington hurt consumer confidence and pared economic growth, it also virtually guaranteed that the Fed would continue its purchases of $85 billion in bonds each month.
That stimulus has underpinned a bull market in stocks that stretches all the way back to March of 2009. Some analysts question the fundamentals, and others have dubbed it the “Rodney Dangerfield Rally” ‘cause it gets no respect.
But Mother Nature got some well-deserved respect this week as severe thunderstorms delivered a frightening, and tragic Halloween in Texas.
Strong storms dumped more than a foot of rain in central Texas Thursday, killing two people. Up to 14 inches of rain fell in the Austin area prompting authorities to rescue hundreds.
Emergency officials in Buda say a man and a woman climbed separate trees after encountering floodwaters in their SUV. A helicopter rescued the pair and both suffered minor injuries.
Further west in Arizona, prolonged DROUGHT contributed to more weather-related fatalities.
A chain reaction crash during a dust storm in southern Arizona Tuesday killed three people. At least a dozen were injured in the accident on Interstate 10 between Phoenix and Tucson.
Officials say a total of 19 vehicles were involved in the wreck, south of Casa Grande in an area that is prone to dust storms.
Patrick Calhoun, Avra Valley Fire District: "This one takes the cake over the last one, but it's the same rolling dust storm that comes in, you know, same amount of chaos."
Much of the southwestern United States remains locked in drought. But, the rest of the country IS slowly improving. This week’s drought monitor from the University of Nebraska reveals 34 percent of the contiguous United States is in some form of drought – that‘s the smallest amount since May of 2012.