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Stock markets tank over new questions about where the economy is heading

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A barrage of divisive economic signals, combined with plummeting technology stocks, led financial markets to close April at lows last seen when the pandemic began in March 2020.

Uncertainty about the trajectory of the economy played a role in market turmoil on Friday, as the tech-heavy Nasdaq closed down 4.2 percent for the day and the Dow Jones industrial average lost 939.18 points, or 2.8 percent. The S&P 500 tanked 3.6 percent on Friday, erasing 9.1 percent of value in April, its worst month since March 2020. And it’s down 13.8 percent in 2022, the worst start to the year since World War II.

The economy is being pulled in multiple directions at once, weighed down by soaring energy, food and housing prices while being buoyed by a tremendous labor market, pent-up demand, consumers with high savings and continued strong business investment. The next few weeks could determine which economic…

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