Stocks Slump But Ends Oct Up Sharply

U.S. stocks finished sharply lower on Monday, but all three major benchmark indexes finished with strong gains for the month. The Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped 276.10 points, or 2.26%, to end at 11,955.01. It was up 9.5% for the month. The S&P 500 fell 31.79 points, or 2.47%, to end at 1,253.30 while the Nasdaq Composite declined by 52.74 points, or 1.93%, to 2,684.41. For the month, the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq each added 11%.

Investors were so concerned that euro zone leaders would not reach agreement on solving the debt crisis in October that they cut equity holdings to the second lowest level in 12 months, Reuters polls showed on Monday.

The Treasury Department is seeking to borrow $305 billion in the current quarter through December and announced plans to borrow $541 billion in the first three months of next year. The first quarter amount would be the second highest borrowing on record.

World leaders will try to understand how the economy has swerved so horribly off its recovery track when they gather this week for a summit that will see a curious inversion of roles from previous meetings: Europeans will be asking developing countries in Asia and South America for financial help.

Oil soared 17.7 percent in October on the expectation that the world’s thirst for petroleum would keep growing despite economic struggles in the West. West Texas Intermediate, the benchmark oil in the U.S., jumped from about $79 to $93 per barrel during the month as fears of another U.S. recession subsided while Europe struck a landmark deal to reduce Greece’s debt.

Humana Inc.’s third-quarter net income jumped 13 percent after another strong quarter of Medicare Advantage enrollment growth. For the third quarter, Humana earned $444.7 million, or $2.67 per share. That compares with earnings of $393.2 million, or $2.32 per share, in the same quarter last year. Revenue climbed 11 percent to $9.3 billion.

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