October is over, but that didn't make any difference to the stock market today -- and neither did the 12th rate hike in a row by the Federal Reserve.
Dashing hopes that a new month would bring a new mood to Wall Street, stock prices slumped today after Dell computer delivered smaller third-quarter profits than investors were expecting.
The Dow Jones industrial average fell 33 points to 10,406.77. The Standard & Poor's 500 stock index slipped 4 points to 1,202.76. The Nasdaq Stock Market composite index dropped 6 points to 2,114.05.
The decline dampened hopes that the market -- after its biggest two-day advance in more than a year -- would break out of its doldrums and climb through the end of the year.
Instead traders saw more of the same as stocks fell in response to the announcement by Dell, which ordinarily is not an important enough company to bring down the whole market.
Stocks opened slightly lower and traded listlessly except for a flurry of activity around the time the Fed delivered the rate increase that everyone was expecting.
In its action today, the Fed added a quarter of a point to the rate that banks pay for overnight loans, bringing it to 4 percent.
Home equity loans based on the prime rate will go up as the result of the decision, which automatically boosts the prime. Some credit cards tied to the prime will also carry higher rates and eventually the increases will filter through to the mortgage market -- where rates have lagged behind the Fed.
The flip side of the coin, however, means better returns for savers, who now can find money market accounts and short-term certificates of deposit carrying rates in the 3.75 percent to 4.5 percent range.
That makes parking the money in the bank look quite attractive compared to stocks, which are down for the year.