By Riva Gold and Akane Otani

U.S. stocks and bonds kicked off November with declines.

Investors have been cautious ahead of a series of upcoming events this month, including the U.S. election, the rest of the third-quarter earnings season and meetings of the Federal Reserve and Bank of England later this week.

Tuesday's declines extended a weak stretch for U.S. stocks. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell for a third straight month in October, its longest monthly losing streak since 2011. The index declined 1.6% in the three months through Monday and hasn't hit a new high since mid-August.

On Tuesday, the index was down 98 points, or 0.5%, at 18044.

Government bonds sold off, as data showed China's factory activity rising to its highest level in two years. Concerns about the Chinese economy had spooked markets at the start of the year, but investors said recent data has been more encouraging. Long-term debt tends to be less attractive to investors when investors expect stronger economic growth.

The yield on 10-year German debt rose to as high as 0.203%, close to its highest since May, before retreating to 0.176%, according to Tradeweb. U.S. Treasury yields climbed to 1.854% from 1.834% on Monday. Yields move inversely to prices.

Dividend-yielding stocks sold off, too. Utilities shares in the S&P 500 fell 1.5%. Telecom shares in the index fell 1%.

"I think higher yields are a mixed blessing for the stock market," said Peter Tuz, president at Chase Investment Counsel. "Clearly if higher yields suggest stronger economic growth and higher earnings growth, that's not necessarily long as yields are not so high that bonds become much of an alternative for equities," he said.

The S&P 500 and the Nasdaq Composite fell 0.7%.

The CBOE Volatility Index, which measures investors' expectations for stock swings in the next 30 days, rose 11% to 18.97.

"When we have conversations with clients, there's definitely a bit of hesitation about engaging right now so close to the election," said David Lefkowitz, senior equity strategist at UBS Wealth Management.

Shares of L Brands fell 8.5% after the company said Monday that sales at its Victoria's Secret stores continued to slow down.

Coach rose 2.4% after the company reported profit climbing in the last quarter, while Archer Daniels Midland rose 7.9% after its profit topped expectations.

In commodities, gasoline and diesel prices surged, then retreated slightly, after an explosion in Alabama cut off a major pipeline and raised concerns about fuel shortages. Gasoline futures were recently up 4.2% on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Diesel futures were up 0.5%.

Asian markets were buoyed by the better-than-expected reading on the Chinese economy. Shares in Hong Kong led gains as the Hang Seng rose 0.9%, while stocks the Shanghai Composite Index advanced 0.7%. Purchasing Managers' Indexes from Nikkei and IHS Markit also pointed to improvements in Japan, South Korea and Taiwan.

Japan's Nikkei Stock Average inched up 0.1%, while the dollar was down 0.6% against the yen at Yen104.294 after the Bank of Japan left its stimulus program unchanged as expected but reduced its inflation forecasts.

In currency markets, the WSJ Dollar Index, which measures the dollar against a basket of 16 currencies, fell 0.3%. The Federal Reserve is widely expected to keep interest rates unchangedWednesday but leave the door open to a rise in December.

The euro rose 0.7% against the dollar to $1.1050.

Write to Riva Gold at and Akane Otani at

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

November 01, 2016 13:45 ET (17:45 GMT)

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