Trump 'very happy' with Treasury chief Mnuchin: White House adviser

Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange in New York U.S

Mnuchin also dismissed a Bloomberg report from Friday which claimed that President Donald Trump had sought to dismiss Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell, after the US central bank rose interest rates.

"They are raising rates too fast because they think the economy is so good", Mr Trump told reporters following his annual Christmas teleconference with American troops. CNN has previously reported that Trump was frustrated with Mnuchin because he pushed for Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell's appointment.

The Dow dropped by 2.9% and the S&P 500 fell 2.7%, the biggest drops ever for the two indexes on Christmas Eve.

U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, meanwhile, said on Sunday that he had held a series of phone conversations with the heads of the six largest U.S. banks in an apparent attempt to soothe investors disconcerted by the declining stock market.

In a tweet Saturday, Mnuchin denied that President Donald Trump has talked about firing Powell, who had drawn the president's wrath for continuing to raise interest rates, saying that Trump said he "never suggested firing chairman Jay Powell, nor do I believe I have the right to do so".

A bruising December for the US markets - triggered by concerns over a partial federal government shutdown, the U.S. The S&P 500 finished about 19.8 percent below its September 20 closing high, just shy of the 20 percent threshold commonly used to define a bear market.

"The headlines we are seeing today, yesterday, over the weekend are not great", said Vinay Pande, global head of trading strategies at UBS Global Wealth Management. "I think it's a tremendous opportunity to buy".

His gradual interest rate hikes had reportedly created tension with the president. On concern of a weaker economic growth and Federal Reserve's much disputed rate hike, the USA stocks had dropped sharply and the S&P 500 plunge gathered pace. "I think the increasing of interest rates and the shrinking of the Fed portfolio is an absolute bad thing to do at this time".

The remarks represent Mr Trump's first expression of public support for Mr Mnuchin and Mr Powell since people familiar with the matter told Bloomberg News last week that the President had discussed dismissing the Fed chief, who was recommended by Mr Mnuchin.

"The only problem our economy has is the Fed", the president said in a tweet.

Mr Trump last week called the Fed a greater economic threat to the U.S. than China, and on Monday compared the central bank to a sloppy golfer.

"The CEOs confirmed that they have ample liquidity available for lending", the Treasury Department said.

The call did more to rattle markets than to assure them.

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