Trump says ‘quite a bit’ of sell-off is fear a Democrat will win election, along with coronavirus

US President Donald Trump holds a news conference with members of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention(CDC)including Dr. Anne Schuchat (R) on the COVID-19 outbreak at the White House on February 26, 2020.

Andrew Caballero-Reynolds

President Donald Trump said in a press conference Wednesday that he believes the stock market will recover its steep, multiday losses and said that fears a Democrat could win the election contributed substantially to the sell-off along with the coronavirus.

“I think it took a hit maybe for two reasons. I think [investors] look at the people that you watched debating last night and they say ‘if there’s even a possibility'” a Democrat is elected the economy will decline, Trump said. “I think the financial markets are very upset when they look at the Democrat candidates standing on that stage making fools out of themselves.”

“I think you can add quite a bit of sell-off to what” the Democrats are saying in debates, the president said.

“And it certainly took a hit because of [the virus] and I understand that’s also because of supply chains and various other things,” he continued. “But I think the stock market will recover. The economy is very strong. The consumer is the strongest it’s ever been.”

The Dow Jones Industrial Average has plunged 2,034 points, more than 7%, since the opening of trade Monday morning and remains on track for its worst week since October 2008 and the financial crisis. The S&P 500 is down a similar 6.6% for the week, on pace for its worst week since 2011.

The coronavirus, which began in Wuhan, China, has spread across the globe in recent weeks and sparked fears that it could hamper global economic activity if unchecked by effective government intervention. Those concerns, in turn, triggered a severe decline in U.S. equities to start the week.

There have been more than 80,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19 — the virus’s official name — around the world with the vast majority of those in China. There have been about 3,000 reported deaths worldwide with at least 2,600 of those in China, according to the World Health Organization.

The president was livid on Tuesday, according to CNBC sources, after federal health officials appeared to fuel equity losses by saying it’s simply a matter of time until the disease hits the U.S. in earnest.

Trump also said Wednesday that the economy has also been hurt by rate increases by the Federal Reserve in 2018, along with stumbles by General Motors and Boeing.

“We’ve been hurt, in my opinion, very badly by our own Federal Reserve who has also created a very strong dollar,” said Trump.

Trump has long been a critic of the central bank and has throughout his presidency blasted its leaders for keeping interest rates at a level he considers restrictive to U.S. economic growth.

His public and well-documented fight with the Fed began in the autumn of 2018, when Trump bemoaned expectations that the central bank would hike rates for a fourth and final time for the year.

Though Fed officials have cut their short-term rate three times since July to a range between 1.5% and 1.75%, the president rebuked the central bank again in August for failing to ease borrowing costs at a pace he would prefer.

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