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Malveaux: Bush focuses on positives

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Anxious investors are waiting to see if the stock markets will rebound Monday after last week's free fall, or continue its downward plunge. CNN White House Correspondent Suzanne Malveaux discussed the Bush administration's efforts to boost confidence in the markets.

MALVEAUX: The White House is certainly nervous. Wall Street is nervous as well as investors, everybody looking to Monday morning when the stock market opens.

President Bush continues to face tough questions from an increasingly nervous public. More than 50 percent of Americans are invested in the stock market and now everyone wants to know when it will bounce back.

After two weeks, the market is down more than 14 percent. The White House is nervous about what to expect when the markets open Monday. The administration's strategy, get Mr. Bush out there, focus on the positive economic indicators, low interest rates, low inflation, and new growth.

But financial analysts have seen little benefit from the presidential cheerleading, stocks plummeting after his rallies in Alabama and on Wall Street. Dick Grasso, chairman of the New York Stock Exchange, had hoped investors would, in his words, "react very confidently to Mr. Bush's message," but he has since toned down his expectations.

Of course the big question is how do they rebuild confidence back in the stock market. Well, analysts say it can be determined by so many different things. If there are further revelations of corporate scandal or abuse or events unfolding in the Middle East, or even possibly another terrorist attack, but all the analysts say that they do think there's going to be a dip before it goes back up.

CNN: All right, by about how much? Are they making a forecast on how much that dip would be?

MALVEAUX: It's so hard to predict, but some analysts saying as much as 10 percent, others saying about 5 percent. They don't want to predict, but it could be much, much worse. They're saying ... they think it's going to dip, that it has not bottomed out yet before it's going to get better, so still hold on. You're going to see some of those numbers dip. That's according to the analysts.

CNN: How soon does the White House see a corporate responsibility bill being passed on the Hill and how much do they think that's going to help investor confidence here?

MALVEAUX: Well, they really hope that that's going to happen before the August recess. That is the goal. And it could happen ... but they have to go into the conference and actually iron out some of the details, some of the points of contention. But they are hoping to get that in the president's hands. They really want to sign that as quickly as possible.

There's concern among Democrats as well Republicans. They do not want to have this issue stick with them for the November midterm elections. They want to make sure that they've got some sort of corporate responsibility that has been signed into action so that really neither group can pin it on ... the other, and the voters will not necessarily hold that against them.

CNN: I'm wondering how carefully President Bush is weighing his public appearances and what he says and how he says it. I mean, all eyes in the White House have to be on that opening bell tomorrow and how the president may or may not respond to it.

MALVEAUX: That is absolutely right. They're going to be looking at those numbers, they're going to look at the stock market.

And expect the president really to take his message on the road. We saw this the last couple of weeks when he was in Birmingham, Alabama; we saw it on Wall Street. The message fell rather flat after the Wall Street speech. They decided to go ahead and give it another go in Alabama.

But expect for him to also talk about that continuously, that investors need to have confidence in the markets, to point out those positive economic indicators. He's going to take his message on the road, and we expect that it's going to be for weeks to come.




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