Clinton Briefed on Market Drop
WASHINGTON (AP) _ President Clinton received updates on the stock market plunge from Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin and remained confident about the country’s strong economic fundamentals, his spokesman said today.
``The president has watched and noted the developments of the day,″ presidential spokesman Mike McCurry told reporters at the White House. ``The president is confident the fundamentals of the American economy are strong. ... That’s what matters most.″
McCurry described Monday’s drop as ``a bare fraction of major breathtaking drops in the past″ and no reason for panic.
``We want everyone to just take a deep breath and think about where we are,″ McCurry said. ``This is a market that has performed amazingly well ... so let’s just be calm and reasonable.″
McCurry said that Rubin and other financial regulators were monitoring developments closely but he refused to speculate on what steps were being considered if the market continued to plunge.
The Dow was plunging while Clinton was at a Washington hotel delivering a speech before the Democratic Leadership Council, in which he credited the country’s strong economy and shrinking budget deficit to his administration’s policies.
Clinton was told that the automatic circuit breaker which shuts trading down had been triggered for the first time since being put in place following the 1987 crash.
McCurry said the president ``wanted to learn more about it″ and talked with Rubin by telephone once he returned to the White House.
McCurry was the only federal official discussing the market developments in the midst of the Wall Street plunge. Officials at the Treasury, the Federal Reserve and the Securities and Exchange Commission had no immediate comment.
Last Thursday when turmoil in Hong Kong first spilled over into U.S. markets, those agencies all stressed that they were carefully monitoring the situation and Rubin told reporters that he did not believe the turmoil in Southeast Asia would lead to a permanent disruption of U.S. markets.