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A Stock Market Malaise With the Shadow of ’70s-Style Stagflation

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Vaccine mandates seem to be working, younger children may be approved for shots by Halloween, and the coronavirus appears to be in retreat. But those hopeful signs herald a messy new phase for the country’s economic recovery — and that’s putting Wall Street more on edge than it’s been in months.The Federal Reserve has signaled it will begin dialing back programs that have helped prop up the markets for the past 18 months, while the breakneck pace of economic growth seems to be slowing, a fact underscored by a disappointing September jobs report.And price increases that grew out of pandemic-related shutdowns and supply chain disruptions have been stubbornly persistent. A key measure of inflation released Wednesday, the Consumer Price Index, climbed 5.4 percent in September compared with the prior year — more than expected in a Bloomberg survey of economists and faster than its 5.3 percent increase through August.“There’s a lot for the market to digest at one point in time and a lot of unknowns, frankly, that investors are grappling with,” said Matt Fruhan, who manages the nearly $3 billion Large Cap Stock Fund, as well as other funds, for Fidelity.That uncertainty has halte …

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