Wall Street wonders if Obama wants a selloff

CNBC's John Harwood speaks with President Barack Obama on the government shutdown and stalemate in Congress.
CNBC

President Barack Obama's best friend could be Wall Street's worst nightmare.

A little market crisis—not enough to crash the economy into recession but enough to stir public fear that would push Republicans to the negotiating table—could be just what settles the impasse in Washington and reopens the government, according to investing pros and market observers.

In an exclusive interview with CNBC, the president warned Wall Street that this shutdown could be different. Previous halts in nonessential government activities have caused little market reaction, with major averages actually rising most of the time in the month after the shutdowns are settled.

Obama's remarks indicated to some observers that he is trying to push investors out of the relative complacency they have shown so far. Futures were broadly lower Thursday, indicating markets may be taking heed.