"I'm worried about the stock market," said Federal Reserve Board Chairman William McChesney Martin Jr. last week. "People might put it out of perspective. It's conceivable they could attach more importance to it economically than it really has, though I have no evidence of that yet."

Martin's concern was shared by many as the market fell lower. But at midweek, having fallen steadily for seven days to dip below 600 on the Dow-Jones industrial index for the first time in more than a year, the market staged a short-lived rally. It recovered a...

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