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Data: Investing.com; Chart: Axios Visuals

When President Trump launched the U.S. into a trade war in 2018, many fund managers argued that small-cap stocks were poised to outperform because their business would be immune to tariffs and uncertainty.

What's happening: They did well over the course of that year but after Tuesday's 3.5% decline, the Russell 2000 index, which tracks many of the nation's small public companies, has fallen to near its closing level from February 2018.

The big picture: Whereas small companies previously drove innovation by disrupting bigger companies with new technologies and ideas, today many large companies can simply buy competitors to generate growth in-house.

  • Decreasing regulations play a role but so does the changing nature of big businesses, particularly in the United States and China.

What they're saying: “If big companies like Alibaba, Amazon, Facebook, Tencent are just going to keep on winning, then the concept of buying small caps changes,” Erik Weisman, chief economist at MFS Investment Management, told me.

  • “In a world where winners take all and just keep on winning, we don’t see small firms that show up on the public playing field.”

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Updated 4 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 7 p.m. ET: 12,859,834 — Total deaths: 567,123 — Total recoveries — 7,062,085Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 7 p.m. ET: 3,297,501— Total deaths: 135,155 — Total recoveries: 1,006,326 — Total tested: 40,282,176Map.
  3. States: Florida smashes single-day record for new coronavirus cases with over 15,000 — NYC reports zero coronavirus deaths for first time since pandemic hit.
  4. Public health: Ex-FDA chief projects "apex" of South's coronavirus curve in 2-3 weeks — Coronavirus testing czar: Lockdowns in hotspots "should be on the table"
  5. Education: Betsy DeVos says schools that don't reopen shouldn't get federal funds — Pelosi accuses Trump of "messing with the health of our children."

Scoop: How the White House is trying to trap leakers

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

President Trump's chief of staff, Mark Meadows, has told several White House staffers he's fed specific nuggets of information to suspected leakers to see if they pass them on to reporters — a trap that would confirm his suspicions. "Meadows told me he was doing that," said one former White House official. "I don't know if it ever worked."

Why it matters: This hunt for leakers has put some White House staffers on edge, with multiple officials telling Axios that Meadows has been unusually vocal about his tactics. So far, he's caught only one person, for a minor leak.

11 GOP congressional nominees support QAnon conspiracy

Lauren Boebert posing in her restaurant in Rifle, Colorado, on April 24. Photo: Emily Kask/AFP

At least 11 Republican congressional nominees have publicly supported or defended the QAnon conspiracy theory movement or some of its tenets — and more aligned with the movement may still find a way onto ballots this year.

Why it matters: Their progress shows how a fringe online forum built on unsubstantiated claims and flagged as a threat by the FBI is seeking a foothold in the U.S. political mainstream.