Trump aide Kudlow urges calm on coronavirus: ‘Stocks look pretty cheap’

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Larry Kudlow, director of the U.S. National Economic Council, speaks during a news conference in the briefing room of the White House in Washington, D.C., on Friday, Jan. 17, 2020.

Al Drago | Bloomberg | Getty Images

National Economic Council Director Larry Kudlow urged calm Friday as global fears about the deadly coronavirus sent stocks plummeting once again.

Kudlow, President Donald Trump’s top economic advisor, said in a Fox Business interview that investors shouldn’t “rule out more optimistic options.”

There’s no guarantee cases of the disease will “skyrocket” in the U.S., Kudlow said. “Stocks looks pretty cheap to me.”

The coronavirus has spread to dozens of countries around the world, killing more than 2,700 people and infecting tens of thousands. But only 61 cases have been confirmed in the U.S., and no deaths have been reported.

White House officials, along with Trump himself, have unsuccessfully tried to slow the market’s free-fall this week.

Kudlow suggested Tuesday that the coronavirus had been contained “pretty close to airtight” in the United States. Health officials said the same day that it appeared inevitable that the coronavirus would spread in the country.

Asked about the World Health Organization’s decision to raise the threat of the coronavirus to a “very high” global risk level, Kudlow said, “I’m sure they’re correct.”

But he stressed that risks to the U.S. in particular remain “on the low side” and said that despite the huge market drops this week, his economic forecasts are holding up “nicely.”

He added that even though stocks are being battered at a level not seen since the 2008 financial crisis, this market is in “just a completely different situation.”

After the Fox Business interview, Kudlow told reporters at the White House that markets “have gone too far” and that he expects it to come back.

2020-02-28 16:37:53

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