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Trump administration asks top investor for advice on markets amid wild ride for stocks

Key Points
  • A Trump administration official has reached out to a notable investor for advice on stock markets, sources told CNBC.
  • A call took place after markets plunged on Christmas Eve.
  • The investor advised the official to tell Trump to stop criticizing Fed Chair Jerome Powell.
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Trump administration official sought advice on markets: Source

A high-ranking Trump administration official reached out to at least one well-known investor for advice on markets after a recent drubbing for stocks, sources told CNBC.

The call took place after a sell-off on Christmas Eve, the worst day of Dec. 24 trading ever. The Dow Jones Industrial Average, and Nasdaq all dropped more than 2 percent Monday, as rumors swirled about President Donald Trump's desire to fire Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell and Defense Secretary James Mattis resigned amid disagreements with the president. The major indexes then spiked about 5 percent on Wednesday.

The administration, which has judged Trump's success in part on stock market performance, is "determined" to boost equities, the sources said. The sources said the investor advised the official to tell the president to end his criticism of Powell on Twitter, stop administration turnover and reach a trade deal with China in order to help markets.

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Trump celebrated a consistent rise for stocks during his first year in office. But markets have faltered this year amid a trade war with China, concerns about the Fed's four interest rate hikes and fears about slowing global growth. As of Friday morning, stocks were on track for their worst December since 1931, with the S&P down about 10 percent.

Trump has tried to blame market carnage on the Fed. Before the plunge Monday, the president tweeted that "the only problem our economy has is the Fed." He contended the U.S. central bank does not "have a feel for the Market."

The tweet followed the Fed's decision to raise the target range for its benchmark interest rate by a quarter point to 2.25 to 2.5 percent.

The Trump administration has denied that the president wants to fire Powell, the head of the independent central bank. It is unclear whether Trump even has the authority to remove the Fed chair.

— CNBC's Jacob Pramuk contributed to this report

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