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Shaky Stocks Send S&P 500 to the Bear Market Brink and Back

  • S&P 500 ends down 18% from its all-time high on Jan. 3
  • Drop of 20% in stocks often signals pain for the real economy
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Goldman Sachs: Bonds Are Starting to Buffer a Bit

More hair-raising volatility in the S&P 500 pushed the index within spitting distance of a 20% drop, a decline that puts markets on covers of newspapers and holds ominous meaning for the economy.

Down as much as 1.9% Thursday and 30 points from a bear market before a last-hour rally, the benchmark appears destined to decrease for a sixth straight week, something it hasn’t done since June 2011. Growing certainty that the Federal Reserve’s efforts to halt inflation will send the economy into a recession has lopped nearly $10 trillion off equity values in 18 weeks.