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Trump blames Federal Reserve chairman after Dow falls slightly

President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump rages against '60 Minutes' for interview with Krebs Cornyn spox: Neera Tanden has 'no chance' of being confirmed as Biden's OMB pick Pa. lawmaker was informed of positive coronavirus test while meeting with Trump: report MORE criticized Jerome Powell on Tuesday after stocks declined during the Federal Reserve chairman's testimony before a House committee.

In a tweet, Trump appeared to blame Powell for the Dow Jones Industrial Average’s fall from a new record high. The president has frequently accused Powell and the Fed of hindering the economy by refusing to slash interest rates to crisis-era levels, though it is unclear what caused the Dow to drop on Tuesday.

“When Jerome Powell started his testimony today, the Dow was up 125, & heading higher. As he spoke it drifted steadily downward, as usual, and is now at -15. Germany & other countries get paid to borrow money. We are more prime, but Fed Rate is too high, Dollar tough on exports,” Trump tweeted.

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The Dow rose more than 130 points Tuesday morning before turning negative shortly before Trump’s tweet, a relatively minuscule change. The Dow returned to positive ground soon after, rising roughly 30 points above its Tuesday open for a gain of nearly 0.1 percent.

Powell brushed off Trump's attack when asked to respond.

"I'm not following the market as I sit here answering your questions," Powell said. 

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Trump has used the Fed as an economic scapegoat throughout his presidency despite the strong performance of the U.S. economy since he took office in 2017. The president has sought to pressure the independent central bank to zero-out interest rates to juice the economy and support his trade agenda as he faces reelection in November.

Trump has also touted the success of the stock market as a report card for his economic agenda, often blaming the Fed for any downward movement in stocks.

While Powell has unique sway over financial markets, his testimony is one of several factors that could have affected the trajectory of Tuesday’s fluctuation. The chairman expressed confidence in the strength of the U.S. economy during his remarks before the House Financial Services Committee, but noted that the country could be hindered by the economic impact of the novel coronavirus.

The head of the World Health Organization also said Tuesday morning that the coronavirus is a “grave threat” globally, prompting concern about the economic toll of the disease.

Data released Tuesday morning by the Labor Department also showed U.S. job openings sliding to a two-year low.