WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama said Friday that regulatory authorities are evaluating the “unusual market activity” on Wall Street this week in hopes of keeping such a sudden, violent drop from happening again.
A computerized sell-off mixed with fears that the European debt crisis would spread sent the Dow Jones industrial average plummeting by almost 1,000 points within a half-hour Thursday afternoon. The market regained two-thirds of the loss before the end of trading.
Surrounded by his economic team on the White House driveway, Obama commented on Friday’s report that the economy had added 290,000 jobs last month while the unemployment rate inched up to 9.9 percent. Obama said that while his administration is taking steps to boost hiring “we’re also mindful of other economic factors that can emerge,” such as a plunging stock market and fears of a spreading overseas financial crisis.
He said regulators would make public their findings and recommendations about the stock market.
Obama also said he spoke Friday morning with German Chancellor Angela Merkel about the economic situation in Europe.
European leaders were meeting Friday in Brussels in an attempt to persuade world markets that the spiraling contagion from Greece’s debt crisis would not spread to other countries with vulnerable state finances such as Portugal and Spain and derail Europe’s economic recovery. The meeting originally was called to sign off on a $140 billion emergency bailout for Greece; the German government on Friday approved its contribution of more than $28 billion to the rescue package.
Obama said he and Merkel agreed on the importance of a strong policy response by the affected countries as well as a strong financial response from the international community, including the U.S.
“I made clear that the United States supports these efforts and will continue to cooperate with European authorities and the (International Monetary Fund) during this critical period,” Obama said.
Merkel’s spokesman, Ulrich Wilhelm, said in a statement that the two leaders expressed confidence that various measures taken would lead to a “sustainable stabilization of financial markets.”
The White House said Obama is getting regular updates on the situation in Greece.
The IMF board of directors planned to meet Sunday in Washington to approve a $40 billion loan to Greece as part of the rescue package.
Associated Press writer Melissa Eddy in Berlin contributed to this report.