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Stock Markets Tumble as Recession Fears Return

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Stocks nose-dived, government bond prices plummeted, the pound dipped against the dollar, oil prices slumped and cryptocurrencies wobbled on Friday as investors, already worried about rising interest rates and stubbornly high inflation, started quaking at the growing likelihood of a recession.Their worries grew throughout the week as central banks around the world, from Sweden to Indonesia, once again wielded their blunt but powerful tool — interest rate increases — to combat inflation. Previous rate increases have already raised costs for consumers and businesses. Further ones could augur a period of higher unemployment and slower economic growth.Investors don’t like that prospect. So they sold off shares on Friday, pushing the S&P 500 stock index down by as much as 2.9 percent, before a late rally left the index 1.7 percent lower at the close of trading.The sell-off leaves the index just above its lowest point for the year in June, almost wiping out gains from a mini rally over the summer that came amid misplaced optimism that the worst was over for the market. The benchmark index is down more than 22 percent for the year, and on course next week for its third straight quarter of losses, the first time that has happened since the global …

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