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Trump: The stock market ‘would’ve been up 60%, but I have to do things’

Krystal Hu

President Donald Trump hasn’t been shy about taking credit for the stock market’s rise. And since prices started falling from their highs of last December, he has largely been silent. But now he’s taking some ownership, saying he is doing something that “bothers the market.”

This past weekend during a rally in Washington, Michigan, Trump touted tax cuts, job creation and the 35% jump in the stock market since the election.

“The stock market, which is not really the all-time indicator, because the country is actually doing much better than the stock market,” he said to thousands of supporters. “It would’ve been up 60%, but I have to do things. I can’t let other countries take advantage of us, so we’re doing trade deals.”

‘We’re not playing games’

In effect, Trump is taking the blame for the recent market volatility, which many experts have attributed to his aggressive rhetoric. The selling really picked up when he started to announce tariffs on steel, aluminum and other imported goods from China in March. Though no tariff has been imposed yet, the looming trade war between the U.S. and China has had markets reeling. Following Trump’s announcement of 25% tariffs on $50 billion worth of Chinese imports to the U.S., the S&P 500 stock index tanked 6% in a week, the worst sell-off since January 2016.

Now, the market awaits trade negotiations between the U.S. and China, which will start later this week.

U.S. President Donald Trump speaks in Washington, Michigan on April 28, 2018. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts

In the past month, China has made some bullish moves by announcing decisions to open up its financial sector and to cut tariffs on car imports. But little has been said about the alleged technology theft at the center of the trade debate.

“I’m not going to give you what’s actually going to happen because we don’t really know,” Trump said on Saturday. “But I’m telling you one thing: we’re not playing games.”

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin also expressed some uncertainty regarding trade negotiations, but said he is cautiously optimistic about the meetings with China’s vice premier in Beijing.

“I don’t want to predict what is going to happen or not going to happen,” Mnuchin told Fox Business Network on Sunday. “We’re going to have very frank discussions — these are issues President Trump has been focused on for over the last year and hopefully we’ll have significant progress.”

During the rally, Trump also spoke of China’s President Xi Jinping and praised his help with the North Korea situation.

“He’s a friend of mine,” Trump said. “But he likes China. I like the U.S.A.”

Krystal Hu is a technology and economy reporter at Yahoo Finance. Follow her on Twitter

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