Trump Says Stimulus May Not Be Needed to Fight Coronavirus, Will Make Statement Tonight

Date: 2020-03-11 20:41:10

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President Donald Trump said he’d make a statement at 8 p.m. ET Wednesday night on how he’ll deal with coronavirus, as he met with Wall Street executives at the White House. #Coronavirus #Pandemic #Covid19

Markets have continued to fall after the World Health Organization declared a pandemic and Trump didn’t provide specifics of “substantial” economic measures he’d promised, including aid for the airline and cruise industries. The S&P 500 was more than 20% below its February closing high.

The White House meeting, held as the coronavirus outbreak roils markets and the global economy, included Goldman Sachs Group Inc. Chief Executive Officer David Solomon and Wells Fargo & Co. CEO Charles Scharf.

The president’s focus on fiscal stimulus “is very important,” hedge fund billionaire Ken Griffin of Citadel said at the meeting.

The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in the U.S. has continued to rise. As of Wednesday, there were more than 1,100 cases in the U.S. and 30 deaths, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.

At Wednesday’s meeting, the White House was expected to seek insights from the executives into the market gyrations and learn about what types of assistance banks will be provided to customers and clients, including small businesses, said a person with knowledge of the matter, who asked not to be identified discussing plans for the private meeting.

Many lenders are leery about asking the White House for regulatory relief or other assistance in response to the virus, according to executives who asked not to be named so they could speak freely.

Even though it’s been more than a decade since the 2008 financial crisis, Wall Street firms are still a political target and don’t want to be seen as trying to benefit from the pandemic, the executives said.

In a floor speech Wednesday ahead of the White House meeting, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer of New York said any government aid should be focused on helping Americans and not bailing out corporations or “deregulating the banking industry.” New York is home to some of the nation’s largest lenders, including JPMorgan Chase & Co., Citigroup Inc. and Goldman Sachs.

Banks already have reaped the benefits of Trump’s de-regulatory agenda. Since the president took office in 2017, regulators have relaxed several major rules put in place after the crisis. They include easing restrictions on speculative trading and capital requirements, as well as giving banks breaks on their annual stress tests.

Also attending the White House meeting were Citigroup Inc. CEO Michael Corbat, Bank of America Corp. CEO Brian Moynihan and JPMorgan Chase & Co. Co-President Gordon Smith, according to the White House. Smith and Co-President Daniel Pinto are in charge of JPMorgan while CEO Jamie Dimon recovers from emergency heart surgery last week.
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