October was a positive month for equity mutual funds, which took in $15.3 billion, Lipper reported. The company compared the month's stock market rally to a similar period of good fortune in 1934, calling it a potential signal that the coming year could be prosperous.

In 1934, as in 2004, Lipper said, October marked a year of contraction in prices, increased trading volumes and the small- and mid-cap outperforming indexes reaching all-time highs. Combined, these factors could indicate "a very generous rally extension," Lipper said. "Obviously, one month does not a trend make, but to us and other analysts, some of the signs appear to be in place that could lift various markets, sectors, stocks and funds through their year-long 2004 consolidation."

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