It is getting dicey out there for Wall Street investors, although stocks eked out a modest rise on Friday. U.S. equities have been bouncing around lately. And the trend has been predominantly lower. Although it hasn’t been the sort of dizzying tumble for equities that would elicit an instant spike in fear, it has been, however, the kind of plodding descent that has the Dow Jones Industrial Average DJIA, +0.22% down nearly 300 points since the end of July.

In fact, the Dow and the S&P 500 index SPX, +0.02% are on the verge of tallying three straight months of declines, with October shaping up to be the ugliest monthly fall since January—the month after the Federal Reserve raised rates for the first time in a decade. (Friday’s jump on better bank earnings will have to be factored after the close.) FULL REPORT