The Federal Reserve's policy pivot this week may be too late to save an economy that is suddenly struggling to avoid grinding to a halt.
For the first time since before the financial crisis, short-term government bonds are yielding above their longer-duration counterparts, a tell-tale recession sign called an inverted yield curve.
But it's more than that: Spending, investment and manufacturing data have weakened considerably. Friday brought a fresh round of troubling signs when Purchase Manager Index readings in the euro zone pointed to contraction, bringing another round of worry that a deteriorating global picture could drag down the U.S.
In the midst of it all comes the Fed, where officials badly wanted to normalize the extremely accommodative policy used during and after the financial crisis and now find that their expectations will have to be tempered. Chairman Jerome Powell and his fellow central bank officials said they likely will not carry through on intentions to hike rates two more times this year, and will end the process of reducing the bond portfolio on the Fed balance sheet much sooner than expected.