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Economists: Don't Blame Greenspan For Market Drop

Wednesday, 28 Feb 2007 | 1:45 PM ET

After Tuesday's market meltdown, some market pros blamed cited Alan Greenspan's comments earlier this week that a 2007 U.S. recession was "possible."

But two economists told CNBC's Sue Herera that the former Federal Reserve chairman is hardly to blame for the stock selloff.

"I'm not about to say it's time to muzzle Greenspan," laughed Peter Hooper, chief economist at Deutsche Bank Securities. Speaking on "Power Lunch," Hooper said that he believes Greenspan actually meant that a recession can never be totally ruled out--and blamed "irresponsible reports" from trigger-happy analysts as exaggerating or misinterpreting the ex-Fed chief's words.

Personally, Hooper said he'd give the odds of a recession happening "no more than a 10% probability."

Should Greenspan Shut Up?
Tackling the issue of whether Alan Greenspan should be listened to regarding the economy, with Brian Wesbury, First Trust Advisors chief economist; Peter Hooper, Deutsche Bank Securities chief economist & former Fed economist and CNBC's Sue Herera

Brian Wesbury, chief economist at First Trust Advisors, agreed. He said the potential for a recession "never goes to absolutely zero" -- adding, "I think that's what he [Greenspan] meant."

He did gently chide Greenspan -- "given his former position, he should be a little more careful in what he says" -- but conceded that "we need to be more careful" interpreting the ex-chairman's words, too.

Wesbury pointed out that in recent years, his fellow analysts have been "walking on eggshells," seeing the conditions building for a market decline--and thus, "there's no one single cause" for Tuesday's events. He concluded, "the [U.S.] economy is in great shape."

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  • Sue Herera is a founding member of CNBC, helping to launch the network in 1989. She is co-anchor of "Power Lunch."

  • Tyler Mathisen co-anchors CNBC's "Power Lunch." Mathisen also co-anchors "Nightly Business Report produced by CNBC."

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Kenny Polcari