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Opinion
Matthew A. Winkler

Trump Tariffs Vex Investors. Here’s What Anxiety Looks Like.

Stock-market turbulence betrays doubt about the prospects for corporate America.

Bumpy. 

Bumpy. 

Photographer: Alex Kraus/Bloomberg

Anyone perceiving the market turbulence of the past six months as a mere pothole on the road to the longest expansion in U.S. history should think again. The $6.7 trillion, 21 percent decline of the Russell 3000 from the high in September, and the $5.1 trillion rebound from the December low, are unprecedented and greater than the gross domestic product of Japan or the total U.S. trade with the world last year.

Even after the stock market recovered most of its losses, the 90-day average of daily price fluctuations hasn't diminished significantly since it climbed to a seven-year high in February. The pronounced anxiety among shareholders contrasts with a quiescent bond market where the U.S. Federal Reserve is comforting investors with the assurance that it is pausing from raising interest rates.