Wall Street selloff worsens on Mnuchin move, Washington drama

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The conversations confirmed that "ample liquidity is available for lending to consumer and business markets", he said.

With investors bruised by the stock market's worst week in seven years, President Trump and Treasury chief Steve Mnuchin have spent recent days trying to ease concerns on Wall Street - with the partial government shutdown as an inconvenient backdrop.

The Treasury secretary left Washington for a Christmas holiday in Mexico's Cabo San Lucas as the federal government shut down over the weekend, while Trump canceled his own planned trip to his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida and remained cooped up in the White House over the holiday, absorbing a flood of negative news about the markets.

Jake Dollarhide, CEO of Longbow Asset Management, said the Treasury and the Fed do not want to be caught off guard as they were during the 2008 housing crisis and financial crisis.

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"They're raising interest rates too fast", he said in the Oval Office after a Christmas Day phone call with USA troops.

Mnuchin then spoke with the heads of major U.S. banks on Sunday and issued a statement that evening saying the banks had "ample liquidity".

The broader S&P 500 fell 2.7%, to close more than 19% from its record high, and less than 1% away from the 20% drop that would put it in bear market territory and ending an nearly ten-year bull market in stocks.

Trump told reporters at the White House on Christmas morning that Mnuchin is a "very talented guy, very smart person". "They are doing very well", he noted. The President said Powell and his team "will get it pretty soon".

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Citing sources familiar with the matter, the Journal reported that Gay Cohn-Trump's former chief economic adviser-told the White House that Trump's recent tweet calling himself a "Tariff Man" caused a plunge in the Dow Jones Industrial Average and that a former GOP treasury official told the department's current chief-Steven Mnuchin-that Trump's "dysfunctional" leadership was hurting the stock market. "I think it's a tremendous opportunity to buy". "And with markets on edge, the last thing they needed was another issue to worry about", Thin said.

Trump on Tuesday took aim at the Jerome Powell-led Federal Reserve for raising interest rates too fast.

Mnuchin held a call with big bank CEOs on Sunday following the turbulent week on Wall Street. "They don't have a feel for the Market, they don't understand necessary Trade Wars or Strong Dollars or even Democrat Shutdowns over Borders".

Trump has singled out his handpicked chairman of the Fed, Jerome Powell, for blame, insisting that the bank's interest rate hikes are responsible for the downturn. With the U.S. now showing signs of sluggishness, investors fear they could be spillover effects on the broader global economy.

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Before that quarter-point rate rise, Trump had complained in a tweet that it was "incredible" for the Fed to consider "yet another interest rate hike".

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