Stocks come back to earth as S&P 500 nears bear market

But the downdraft has dented the stock prices of companies that represent innovation and the future too; Amazon is down more than 30% year-to-date and Alphabet, Google’s parent company, is down about 20% as investors rethink the real value of these companies.

Virtually no stock was spared from losses. The market decline has “gone on forever, and that’s depressing,” Ms Hill said.

Perhaps no one understood this emotional symbolism of the market better than Mr. Trump.

“The reason our stock market is so successful is because of me,” Trump said in November 2017 — one of several statements in which he boasted about rising stock prices or publicly pressured the Fed to lower interest rates further to stimulate the economy.

At the start of the pandemic, in April 2020 – with shops, offices and churches closed, children stuck at home trying to go to school remotely and morgues running out of space for virus victims – Mr. Trump tweeted that the United States had “the largest stock market increase since 1974.”

While a majority of Americans have money invested in the stock market, it remains a game of the rich. According to an analysis by New York University economics professor Edward Wolff, the richest 5% of Americans own 72% of all stocks.

But the symbolic value of the purse matters. “It’s the one story that’s making headlines every night,” said Richard Sylla, professor emeritus of economics at New York University’s Stern School of Business.

Is the market up or down? Are we winning or losing today, this week, this year, this presidency?

On Friday, the University of Michigan consumer confidence index fell lower than expected, a decline that some economists attribute in part to stock market losses. The index is now 13 points below the trough when Covid first hit, noted Ian Shepherdson, chief US economist at Pantheon Macroeconomics. Such deep pessimism “suggests that people have short memories,” Shepherdson wrote in a research note.

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