As the stock market last week continued its decline, businessmen lost some of their exuberance about the course of the economy. The new mood was not based on the potential of the world's most powerful economy, or even on its present performance. It was an inevitable part of the psychology of the U.S. boom: too much good news, like too much rich food, can produce a vague, queasy dyspepsia.

Last year the stock market often ignored bad news; the Dow-Jones industrial average reached a new high during the steel strike. Now, despite good earnings, hefty dividend hikes (see Earnings)...

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