But the downturn has also lowered the share prices of companies that stand for innovation and the future; Amazon is down more than 30 percent since the beginning of the year and Alphabet, Google’s parent company, is down about 20 percent as investors reconsider the true value of these companies.
Hardly a stock was spared from losses. The market decline “is ongoing and depressing,” Ms. Hill said.
Perhaps nobody understood this emotional symbolism of the market better than Mr. Trump.
“The reason our stock market is so successful is because of me,” Mr. Trump said in November 2017 — one of many statements in which he has boasted about rising stock prices or publicly pressured the Fed to cut interest rates further in order to to stimulate the economy.
At the start of the pandemic, in April 2020 — with businesses, offices, and churches closed, children stranded at home trying to attend correspondence school, and morgues running out of space for virus victims — Mr Trump tweeted that the United States was “the Biggest rise in stock markets” since 1974.”
While the majority of Americans have some money invested in the stock market, it remains a rich man’s game. According to an analysis by New York University economics professor Edward Wolff, the top 5 percent of American wealth owners own 72 percent of all stocks.
But the symbolic value of the exchange counts. “It’s the one story that’s on the news every night,” said Richard Sylla, professor emeritus of economics at New York University’s Stern School of Business.
Is the market up or down? Do we win or lose this presidency today, this week, this year?
On Friday, the University of Michigan’s consumer sentiment index fell lower-than-expected, a decline some economists attribute in part to losses in stock markets. The index is now 13 points below the low when Covid first emerged, noted Ian Shepherdson, chief US economist at Pantheon Macroeconomics. Such deep pessimism “suggests that humans have short memories,” Mr. Shepherdson wrote in a research note.