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Bush: Wall Street will make a ‘soft landing’ from recent turbulence

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    WASHINGTON — President Bush struck a reassuring tone Wednesday about recent turbulence on Wall Street, saying he believes the markets will work their way through the turmoil safely and achieve a ‘‘soft landing.’’
    Bush, in his most extensive remarks on a gyrating stock market that has sent investors on a rollercoaster ride, expressed confidence that investors would eventually calm down. The president said he expects investors to reassess their risk and begin to focus more on the economy’s fundamentals, which he said are solid and sound.
    ‘‘I’m not an economist, but my hope is that the market, if it functions normally, will be able to yield a soft landing,’’ Bush said. ‘‘That’s kind of what it looks like so far.’’
    Investors are worried about a worsening housing slump and possibly a widening credit crunch — an uneasiness of recent weeks that has permeated the financial system and the national economy.
    ‘‘The underpinnings of our economy are strong,’’ Bush told a small group of reporters Wednesday. He said such conditions should help the markets get through the current problems.
    ‘‘So the conditions for a — you know — for the marketplace working through these issues are good, and that’s how I look at it, ‘‘ Bush said.
    Bush noted that the economy is growing modestly and generating jobs — despite the ill effects of the sour housing market.
    After nearly stalling in the first three months of this year, the economy rebounded in the April-to-June quarter, growing at a solid 3.4 percent pace, the best in more than a year. The nation’s unemployment rate edged up to 4.6 percent in July yet remains low by historical standards. Inflation — outside a recent burst in energy and food prices — has shown signs of improving.
    However, stocks have been swinging wildly.
    The president indicated he wasn’t overly worried. He said the market has gone through periods of ups and downs before. ‘‘It’s the nature of the markets,’’ he said.
    On Wall Street, stock were up around 70 points in afternoon trading on Wednesday.

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