This year’s economic performance has consistently exceeded expectations, as the stock market set records, growth accelerated and unemployment moved lower and lower. But the steep sell-off on Wall Street this week — with the Dow Jones industrial average dropping nearly 1,400 points over the past two days — underscored a growing concern among investors and economists that the economy may have nowhere to go but down.

Almost no one is forecasting an immediate recession, but several factors appear likely to diminish the economy’s momentum.

President Trump’s trade war with China is starting to take a bite out of growth, energy prices are rising, the global economy is slowing and U.S. interest rates are going up. These forces mean Americans will be paying more to buy staples and facing higher borrowing costs to purchase a home or car or invest in a business. And foreign countries will likely buy fewer U.S. exports as demand slows and tariffs kick in.



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