The stock market, as measured by the S&P 500, tumbled more than 3 percent yesterday, dragging it deeper into bear market territory. This morning, futures markets suggest there will be a rebound, but the S&P is still well on track to record its 10th weekly decline of the past 11 weeks.
Bull markets are often said to climb a wall of worry, with occasional slips along the way. When bear markets rappel, there are also periodic pauses for breath. That has been the theme of late, with investors veering from relief that policymakers are taking aggressive actions to rein in inflation to fear about the effect those actions may have on economic growth.
In all, the drop in stocks this year has erased about $12 trillion in value from investors’ portfolios. That’s already more than the $8 trillion decline in 2008, during the most severe financial crisis in a century, although on a percentage basis the 2008 drop was bigger. Over time, the rise and fall of stocks can propel and drag the economy via something economists call the wealth effect — when people feel poorer, even if their losses are mostly on paper, they may not spend as much, denting the economy.