TOPICS > Economy

Wall Street Completes Best Month in More Than a Decade

October 28, 2011 at 12:00 AM EDT

JUDY WOODRUFF: World markets settled back to normal today, as jubilation over Europe’s debt deal subsided some.

On Wall Street, trading was unusually quiet. The Dow Jones industrial average gained 22 points to close at 12,231. The Nasdaq fell a point to close at 2,737. But it was still the market’s best month in a long time, and it came amid tentative indications of economic progress.

The markets may not have moved much today, but the closing bell brought good tidings for much of October. The Dow rose nearly 12 percent, its best monthly showing since 1987. The Nasdaq was up 13 percent, the most since 2002. And the S&P 500 also gained 13 percent, its best October since 1974.

The figures were boosted by Thursday’s news of the European bailout deal. It’s designed to keep Greece from defaulting, while preventing the financial crisis from spreading across the eurozone. Investors also took heart from hopeful signs that a double-dip recession might not be in the offing after all.

The U.S. economy grew at an annual rate of 2.5 percent in the third quarter, and consumer spending jumped six-tenths of a percent in September. The numbers were better than expected, but there were also reminders that the recovery is still relatively weak.

The world’s biggest appliance maker, Whirlpool, announced today it’s cutting 5,000 jobs. That’s about 10 percent of its work force in North America and Europe. It cited weak demand and higher costs for materials. Meanwhile, there were also questions about just how the new European debt deal will work and who will pay for expanded bailout efforts.

The head of Europe’s rescue fund visited Beijing today, hoping to entice the Chinese to invest in the multibillion-dollar plan. He dismissed suggestions that China might demand political concessions in return.

KLAUS REGLING, European Financial Stability Facility: There’s no special deal. It’s the normal conditions. We publish those conditions on our website. And there is no — nothing special. They find this an interesting investment.

JUDY WOODRUFF: In turn, the Chinese vice foreign minister signaled her country’s willingness to help.

FU YING, Chinese vice foreign minister (through translator): We do not think that Europe will just collapse. We hope that, by fighting this crisis, the mutual understanding and trust between China and Europe can be enhanced, and the cooperation between us can be deepened. We hope that this crisis can be an opportunity for all of us to make progress.

JUDY WOODRUFF: Investors and political leaders around the world will be hoping the same, and they will be waiting for next week’s report on U.S. unemployment in October, plus the Federal Reserve’s latest outlook.