Investors show concern over the U.S. economy

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Investors seem to be getting more nervous about growth.

Driving the news: Another day of weak economic data.

  • Factory orders, out Tuesday, fell for the second straight month in February.
  • And job openings dropped faster than expected, a possible sign the job market is cooling.

💭 Our thought bubble: The data du jour wasn't top shelf, but the numbers were consistent with others showing that parts of the economy — like the industrial sector — are losing steam.

Between the lines: Under-the-hood indicators from Tuesday's trading session told a similar tale.

  • Cyclical parts of the stock market, such as energy and industrial shares — whose performance mirrors expectations for near-term growth — led Tuesday's drop, falling 1.7% and 2.3%, respectively.
  • Smaller companies also got banged up, as the small-cap Russell 2000 index dropped 2%. (The Russell is considered heavily dependent on the domestic U.S. economy, while the S&P 500 has more global giants in it.)
  • Yields on U.S. government bonds set to mature over the next couple of years fell sharply. That could mean investors are now expecting the Fed to stop raising rates, which could happen if the economy seriously stumbles.

Yes, but: It could also be that investors are simply taking a breath after four straight consecutive daily gains. We'll have to wait and see.

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