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Wall Street nears bear market at the end of a bad week

Another fall for stocks on Friday had the S&P 500 flirting with a 20% drop from its peak set early this year, putting it within the grasp of what Wall Street calls a bear market.

The benchmark index was down 0.4% for the day in afternoon trading and on pace for its seventh straight losing week. Rising interest rates, high inflation, the war in Ukraine, and a slowdown in China's economy are all punishing stocks and raising fears about a possible U.S. recession. The last bear market was in 2020, an unusually brief downturn that sliced 34% off the S&P 500.

The index finished the week off with a 3 percent loss, which was its seventh straight weekly decline, the New York Times reported. It's the longest window of losses since 2001.

Surprisingly low earnings reports from Target and Walmart this week didn't help either which contributed to dragging the markets even lower. The New York Times points out that since World War II, recessions almost always follow bear markets.

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