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Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

Financial markets were rattled on Thursday amid signs that the economic recovery is at risk of stumbling. But experts say the longer-term outlook for markets remains bright.

Why it matters: Even with the selloff, the stock market is near an all-time high, with the S&P 500 having closed at a record 4,358 on Wednesday.

  • Largely driven by expectations for future earnings growth, the stock market is vulnerable to suggestions that growth may be peaking and potentially turning lower.
  • The spread of the Delta variant of COVID-19 is among the risks that could hinder growth.
  • Tumbling Treasury yields and the unexpected increase in initial claims for unemployment benefits didn’t help.

What they’re saying: Dave Lutz, a strategist at JonesTrading, tells Axios one of the drivers of volatility this week is the absence of traders in the market.

  • "Dealing with summer vacations makes things much more whippy than we normally would see."
  • Lutz added that many players in the market were positioned for higher yields, which may be contributing to the drop in yields as traders unwind their wrong-way bets.

The big picture: Despite hiccups like what we saw on Thursday, market experts say things still look good for stocks.

  • "Given that vaccinations are limiting case growth, which should keep the country open for business, the economic risks are likely limited," Commonwealth Financial Network CIO Brad McMillan said in a report.
  • "Also, with interest rates still low, which should support valuations, and with earnings likely to grow sharply again this quarter, any further downside is likely to be limited."

Be smart: History says it would be very normal for stocks to fall much more at this point of a bull market before recovering all of those losses and then some.

  • By no means is this a guarantee that stocks are headed much higher. But don’t be surprised if they do.

Go deeper

More women and older workers gave up on looking for jobs last month

Data: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics; Chart: Axios Visuals

The silver lining in Friday’s mediocre jobs report was this milestone: The unemployment rate dropped below 5% for the first time since the pandemic sent workers home in droves.

Yes, but: Part of what pushed it down was shrinking labor force participation.

Updated 35 mins ago - Health

COVID cases and deaths keep falling

Expand chart
Data: N.Y. Times; Cartogram: Kavya Beheraj/Axios

America’s coronavirus outbreak is rapidly improving as the Delta wave recedes, and vaccines for kids — which could become available within weeks — will help the situation improve even further.

By the numbers: Nationwide, the U.S. is now averaging about 79,000 new cases per day — a 22% drop over the past two weeks.

Felix Salmon, author of Capital
Updated 36 mins ago - Economy & Business

How the pandemic caused a corporate rebound

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

WeWork becomes a public company today worth more than $9 billion — a vindication of the expensive turnaround strategy employed after it spectacularly imploded in 2019. Like many companies that find themselves at death's door, that which didn't kill them made them stronger.

Why it matters: Hertz, Alamo Drafthouse, Airbnb, and Toast are among the currently-thriving companies that were shaken to the core in the early days of the pandemic — providing further evidence for the theory that, in the words of former Fast Company editor Bill Taylor, "companies can't be great unless they've almost failed."