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 roller-coaster 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 told a small group of reporters at the Treasury Department on Wednesday. "That's kind of what it looks like so far."
Investors are concerned 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 said, adding that such conditions should help the markets get through the current problems.
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 - aside from 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 markets have gone through periods of ups and downs before. "It's the nature of the markets," he said.
The Dow rose 153.56, or 1.14 percent, to 13,657.86 Wednesday. The Standard & Poor's 500 index rose 20.78, or 1.41 percent, to 1,497.49. The Nasdaq added 51.38, or 2.01 percent, to 2,612.98.
Although Bush insisted his economic policies have helped the economy grow and his tax cut let workers keep more of their own money, the president has been coping with weak public-approval ratings for his economic stewardship.
Only 37 percent approve of his performance, close to a record low, a recent AP-Ipsos poll indicated.