White House

Markets aren't 'real indicators' for the economy, Spicer says

White House distances itself from stock sell-off
White House distances itself from stock sell-off

White House spokesman Sean Spicer cautioned people against using stock indexes to evaluate the success of Donald Trump's administration, despite the president having done exactly that.

As the Dow Jones industrial average shed about 200 points Tuesday, CNBC asked if Trump believes the decline in U.S. markets is a result of his performance as president. Spicer pushed back, saying that the administration has cautioned against looking at one-day market performance and that the U.S. markets continue "to be up tremendously."

"You can't look at one indices and say that that is the benchmark of an entire economy," Spicer said at his daily press briefing. "But you see confidence levels both in small business and in other surveys that show that there's continued confidence in the market and optimism in the market."

To be sure, markets have been on a tear since Trump's win in November. The has gained more than 11 percent since then. Trump and his surrogates have previously pointed to market highs as evidence of the performance of the current administration.

@realDonaldTrump: Great optimism for future of U.S. business, AND JOBS, with the DOW having an 11th straight record close. Big tax & regulation cuts coming!

@realDonaldTrump: Since November 8th, Election Day, the Stock Market has posted $3.2 trillion in GAINS and consumer confidence is at a 15 year high. Jobs!

Spicer said Tuesday the "real indicators" are things like job creation and businesses bringing their operations back to the U.S.

Earlier this month, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that the U.S. economy added 235,000 jobs in February, blowing past economist expectations for 190,000.

While Spicer pointed to the jobs report as an example of overperformance, he still cautioned against using a single data point as "something to base an entire record off of." He said, however, the administration feels "very good about where things are headed and the direction things are going."

Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin previously told CNBC that he "absolutely" believes the market is a good indicator of economic progress.

"We're in an environment where there's very attractive investment opportunities in the U.S., and I think that's reflective of the administration's goals and what the market thinks of it," Mnuchin told CNBC in February.

— CNBC's Steve Kopack and Jeff Cox contributed to this report.