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John Authers

A Stocks Rescue Is the Last Thing the Fed Wants

Unlike during previous selloffs, the central bank needs share prices to fall enough to influence consumer behavior.

The rescuers aren’t coming this time.

The rescuers aren’t coming this time.

Photographer: OLMO CALVO/AFP/Getty Images

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Another messy day’s trading in New York left the S&P 500 at its lowest closing level for the year, down almost 19% from its high in early January. The end of the week will bring an interesting test of whether investors are comfortable pushing the index down to a 20% decline, which would satisfy the popular definition of a bear market.