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White House Monitors Stock Market Plunge

Rubin says economy's fundamentals are strong

WASHINGTON (AllPolitics, Oct. 27) -- White House officials are reviewing today's 554-point plunge in the Dow Jones industrial average, and have briefed President Bill Clinton on the stock market's sharp sell-off.

After the markets closed, Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin offered a brief statement, saying so-called "circuit breakers" designed to halt trading had worked as designed and the White House would continue to monitor developments on Wall Street and in financial markets around the world as needed.

"It is important to remember that the fundamentals of the United States economy are strong and have been for the past several years, and the prospects for continued growth, with low inflation and low unemployment, are strong," said Rubin, who declined to answer questions.


Earlier, White House Press Secretary Mike McCurry said an administration financial group, including representatives from the Securities and Exchange Commission, the Treasury Department, the Federal Reserve and other agencies, had met to review the situation.

Officials said Rubin also was in touch with the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank to see if there were ways to stabilize Asian markets, which have contributed to the U.S. stock market's unpredictability.

Clinton avoided comment on the market's precipitous drop during an afternoon speech to the Democratic Leadership Council.


"The president is mindful of the fact that the fundamentals in this economy are strong and that's what matters most," McCurry told reporters.

McCurry described the drop, about 7 percent off the Dow Jones average, as "a bare fraction of major breathtaking drops in the past."

"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."

The White House's strategy was to avoid comments that could be misinterpreted and exacerbate the market's volatility.

CNN's John King contributed to this report.

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