Trump team downplays stock market's plunge, calling economy's fundamentals strong

Jim Puzzanghera, Los Angeles Times on

Published in Political News

WASHINGTON -- Top Trump administration officials and congressional Republicans downplayed Monday's stock market plunge, saying the economy's fundamentals were strong even as they acknowledged the gyrations had gained their attention.

"I'm not overly concerned about the market volatility," Treasury Secretary Steven T. Mnuchin said Tuesday morning at a hearing of the House Financial Services Committee. "The fundamentals are quite strong."

But Mnuchin acknowledged the financial markets were on his mind more than usual.

"I normally would't be looking at my iPhone, but given the market moves, I'm checking it," he said, glancing down at his phone.

"It's now up 187 points," he said of the Dow Jones industrial average, "so we're back up today."

But shortly after his comments the stock index went negative again, punctuating the volatility the day after the Dow's record point drop.

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"We are very focused on the long-term economic growth and we believe the policies we've enacted, including tax reform, are very positive for long-term economic growth," Mnuchin said.

The Treasury Department was monitoring financial markets and that they were "functioning very well," he said.

Mnuchin added that despite recent declines, "the stock market is up significantly, over 30 percent, since President Trump was elected."

On Monday, the Dow closed 33 percent higher than it did the day Trump was elected. The broader Standard & Poor's 500 index, which investors tend to favor as a gauge of the U.S. stock market, was up 24 percent in that span.


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