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Expand chart
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.”

Go deeper

Behind GameStop's latest stock surge

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Back in focus: The meme stock trade.

By the numbers: GameStop finished up 19%, after a wild day that saw shares spike as much as 80%.

AT&T spins off U.S. video business via deal with TPG

Photo: AaronP/Bauer-Griffin/GC Images

AT&T is spinning off three of its video services, including its satellite TV brand DirecTV, to create a new standalone video company called New DIRECTV.

Details: The company will be jointly owned by AT&T and private-equity giant TPG. AT&T will retain a 70% stake and TPG will own 30% of the firm.

Updated 1 hour ago - Sports

Ex-USA Gymnastics coach dies by suicide after being charged with human trafficking

John Geddert. Photo: AFP via Getty Images

The body of John Geddert was found on Thursday, just hours after the former USA Gymnastics coach was charged with 24 counts of criminal misconduct, according to Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel.

What they're saying: “My office has been notified that the body of John Geddert was found late this afternoon after taking his own life. This is a tragic end to a tragic story for everyone involved," Nessel said in a statement.