Financial Advisor Insights

October 2023 Global Markets Update | Savvy

October 2023 Global Markets Update | Savvy
Nathan Wallace
November 7, 2023


  • Investors found few bright spots as October was another dour month in global markets with all major equity indices seeing declines between 2.5% - 5.7%.
  • Bonds followed equities lower with longer term Treasuries seeing 5%+ losses and yields hopped up1.
  • Despite escalating international conflict, oil prices declined, while other “flight to safety” securities rallied.

US Markets

Boo! October was indeed a scary month for investors, with major global indices declining across the board. China led the way down, closely followed by European Market and Emerging Market equities.

China, whose markets have been the red most the year, now find themselves joined in the red by the broad Emerging Markets index, while the Dow Jones index and European equities are teetering on the brink of year-to-date losses.

Despite disappointing performance across US Equity indices, there were small bright spots with the Utilities (a traditionally defensive sector) and Technology posting gains for the month. Other sectors were not so lucky, with risk-on sectors like Healthcare and Consumer Discretionary posting 5%+ losses during October.

These largely disappointing sector results have not done much to narrow the performance gap between traditionally “risk-on” sectors and more conservative sectors, with a 40%+ performance gap for the year between the top two performing sectors and the bottom four sectors.

Given this, it is no surprise that “risk-off” factors such as Low-Volatility and Value were the best performing factors during October. Once again, the year to date discrepancy between top factors and lagging factors continues to be large.

Much like sector performance, the gap between top factors and bottom performing factors still checks in at 15%+ for the year.

These results are even more accentuated when we look at longer term factor returns. Since 2017 Growth has outperformed Low-Vol and Value by 80%+ and 55%+ respectively.

Global Markets

Global markets mirrored their US cousins dropping between 2.2% - 4%+ for October. These results were not necessarily driven by major fundamental shifts in the economic strength of global economies, but more likely a fear driven response2.

Despite continued poor performance out of China, 2023 continues to be a positive year in global markets, with almost all markets posting gains for the year. Since July global equity markets have rolled over and have moved down between 6-10%.

Fixed Income Markets

Fixed income markets were broadly lower in October as yields continued to creep up around the world and increased tensions pushed yields higher3.

These increasing yields led to a fairly miserable month for longer dated US Treasury bonds with the 10-20 year treasury ETF and the 20+ year treasury ETF both posting 4%+ losses for the month.

October was an extension of a woeful year to date for long term bonds. The iShares 20+ Year ETF has now posted losses of 16% for the year and an humbling 49% drop from their highs in August of 2020.

Bright Spots

Despite all the negative returns in October (and add September to that as well), there were some bright spots! During October “Flight to Safety” assets like gold4, silver, natural gas, and even Bitcoin rallied during October.

Oil, despite ever rising tensions fell to the tune of 8.68% during the month, bringing year to date performance to 8.14%.


This presentation is for informational purposes only. All opinions and estimates constitute our judgment as of the date of this communication and are subject to change without notice. The information contained herein has been obtained from sources that are believed to be reliable. However, Savvy does not independently verify the accuracy of this information and makes no representations as to its accuracy or completeness.