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It's the Economy, Stupid: Why the Stock Market Is Nothing to Worry About

Most of what Americans produce is sold to other Americans; exports account for just under 14 percent of U.S. gross domestic product
Most of what Americans produce is sold to other Americans; exports account for just under 14 percent of U.S. gross domestic productPhotograph by Daniel Acker/Bloomberg

It’s natural to worry when the Standard & Poor’s 500-stock index experiences its worst three-day loss since 2011 and the Dow Jones Industrial average hits a six-month low. But your job is likely to be safer than your portfolio. Economists surveyed by Bloomberg are still looking for the U.S. economy to grow at a healthy 3 percent pace in the last three months of 2014 and at the same clip in 2015.

There’s a simple reason for that, as my Bloomberg News colleagues, Rich Miller and Simon Kennedy, wrote on Oct. 13. Foreign sales last year accounted for 46 percent of the revenue of companies in the S&P 500, leaving them highly exposed to troubles abroad. Investors are selling shares because they fear that foreign sales will slump because of recurrent weakness in Europe, a falling growth rate in China, and a protracted slump in sentiment in Japan.