Trump once boasted of market gains, now tweets cause drops

The year started with President Donald Trump promising big growth for stocks.

In January, he shared excitement over a "big day" on Wall Street. By June, the president was tweeting: "Stock Market up almost 40% since the Election." When the market hit a record high on Aug. 25, Trump tweeted, "Congratulations U.S.A.!" And there was more excitement on Oct. 3: "The Stock Market just reached an All-Time High during my Administration for the 102nd Time, a presidential record, by far, for less than two years."

Now, as those gains are wiped away, the president is attacking the Federal Reserve for the stock market's woes — and those tweets are pushing share prices even lower.

On Monday, stocks slid an additional 2 to 3 percent after another Trump tweet-attack on the Fed and an effort by his Treasury secretary to calm investors' fears that only seemed to make matters worse.

The market is now on track for its worst year since 2008 and its worst December since 1931, during the depths of the Great Depression.

The market has been roiled for most of the month over concerns about a slowing global economy, the escalating trade dispute with China and another interest rate increase by the Federal Reserve.

The past two trading days, however, have been dominated by something else: major losses following tweets from the president criticizing Fed Chairman Jerome Powell and the central bank.

Trump's Monday morning tweet heightened fears about the economy being destabilized by a president who wants control over the Fed.

Related: Donald Trump golfing through the years

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US President Donald Trump drives a golf buggy on his golf course at the Trump Turnberry resort in South Ayrshire, where he and his wife Melania, spent the weekend as part of their visit to the UK before leaving for Finland where he will meet Russian leader Vladimir Putin for talks on Monday. (Photo by Andrew Milligan/PA Images via Getty Images)
US President Donald Trump on his golf course at the Trump Turnberry resort in South Ayrshire, where he and his wife Melania, spent the weekend as part of their visit to the UK before leaving for Finland where he will meet Russian leader Vladimir Putin for talks on Monday. (Photo by Andrew Milligan/PA Images via Getty Images)
US President Donald Trump drives a golf buggy on his golf course at the Trump Turnberry resort in South Ayrshire, where he and his wife Melania, spent the weekend as part of their visit to the UK before leaving for Finland where he will meet Russian leader Vladimir Putin for talks on Monday. (Photo by Andrew Milligan/PA Images via Getty Images)
US President Donald Trump drives a golf buggy on his golf course at the Trump Turnberry resort in South Ayrshire, where he and his wife Melania, spent the weekend as part of their visit to the UK before leaving for Finland where he will meet Russian leader Vladimir Putin for talks on Monday. (Photo by Andrew Milligan/PA Images via Getty Images)
TURNBERRY, SCOTLAND - JULY 15: U.S. President Donald Trump hits a tee shot whilst playing a round of golf at Trump Turnberry Luxury Collection Resortduring the U.S. President's first official visit to the United Kingdom on July 15, 2018 in Turnberry, Scotland. The President of the United States and First Lady, Melania Trump on their first official visit to the UK after yesterday's meetings with the Prime Minister and the Queen is in Scotland for private weekend stay at his Turnberry. (Photo by Leon Neal/Getty Images)
TURNBERRY, SCOTLAND - JULY 15: U.S. President Donald Trump waves whilst playing a round of golf at Trump Turnberry Luxury Collection Resort during the U.S. President's first official visit to the United Kingdom on July 15, 2018 in Turnberry, Scotland. The President of the United States and First Lady, Melania Trump on their first official visit to the UK after yesterday's meetings with the Prime Minister and the Queen is in Scotland for private weekend stay at his Turnberry. (Photo by Leon Neal/Getty Images)
US President Donald Trump plays a round of golf on the Trump Turnberry resort in South Ayrshire, where he and first lady Melania Trump are spending the weekend. (Photo by Jane Barlow/PA Images via Getty Images)
U.S. President Donald Trump swings a golf club as young participants look on during the White House Sports and Fitness Day event on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, U.S., May 30, 2018. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
An aerial view shows U.S. President Donald Trump (top R) plays golf with Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe (top L) and Japanese golfer Hideki Matsuyama (top 2nd R) at the Kasumigaseki Country Club in Kawagoe, north of Tokyo, Japan, in this photo taken by Kyodo November 5, 2017. Mandatory credit Kyodo via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. MANDATORY CREDIT. JAPAN OUT. NO COMMERCIAL OR EDITORIAL SALES IN JAPAN.
U.S. property magnate Donald Trump practices his swing at the 13th tee of his new Trump International Golf Links course on the Menie Estate near Aberdeen, Scotland, Britain June 20, 2011. To match Special Report USA-ELECTION/TRUMP-GOLF REUTERS/David Moir/File Photo
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump drives a golf cart with his granddaughter Kai Trump on the golf course at his Trump International Golf Links in Aberdeen, Scotland, June 25, 2016. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri
U.S. property mogul Donald Trump leads a media event on the sand dunes of the Menie estate, the site for Trump's proposed golf resort, near Aberdeen, Scotland, Britain May 27, 2010. To match Special Report USA-ELECTION/TRUMP-GOLF REUTERS/David Moir/File Photo
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump drives a golf cart with his granddaughter Kai Trump on the golf course at his Trump International Golf Links in Aberdeen, Scotland, June 25, 2016. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri
Golf - RICOH Women's British Open 2015 - Trump Turnberry Resort, Scotland - 30/7/15 US Presidential Candidate Donald Trump views the course during a visit to his Scottish golf course Turnberry Action Images via Reuters / Russell Cheyne Livepic
Real Estate magnate Donald Trump gestures as he plays golf during the opening of his Trump International Golf Links golf course near Aberdeen, northeast Scotland July 10, 2012. REUTERS/David Moir (BRITAIN - Tags: BUSINESS SPORT GOLF REAL ESTATE)
Real Estate magnate Donald Trump (R ) plays golf during the opening of his Trump International Golf Links golf course near Aberdeen, northeast Scotland July 10, 2012. REUTERS/David Moir (BRITAIN - Tags: BUSINESS SPORT GOLF REAL ESTATE)
PGA Chief Executive Sandy Jones (R) puts his arm around real estate magnate Donald Trump as they play golf during the opening of the Trump International Golf Links golf course near Aberdeen, northeast Scotland July 10, 2012. REUTERS/David Moir (BRITAIN - Tags: BUSINESS SPORT GOLF REAL ESTATE TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY)
Real estate magnate Donald Trump (R) plays golf during the opening of his Trump International Golf Links golf course near Aberdeen, northeast Scotland July 10, 2012. REUTERS/David Moir (BRITAIN - Tags: BUSINESS SPORT GOLF REAL ESTATE)
U.S. property magnate Donald Trump gestures during a tour of his new Trump International Golf Links course on the Menie Estate near Aberdeen, north east Scotland June 20, 2011. Trump was in Scotland to give a media tour of the luxury golf course a year into its construction. REUTERS/David Moir (BRITAIN - Tags: BUSINESS SPORT GOLF SOCIETY)
Donald Trump (R) drives his golf cart along the ninth fairway while he watches the final group of the day with an unidentified partner during the first round of the ADT Championship LPGA golf tournament at the Trump International course in West Palm Beach, Florida November 15, 2007. REUTERS/Hans Deryk (UNITED STATES)
Donald Trump tosses a golf ball to his caddy after hitting a shot into the rough in a skins match at the Manhattan Golf Classic on Governors' Island in New York October 22, 2006. REUTERS/Jeff Zelevansky (UNITED STATES)
ABERDEEN, SCOTLAND - JULY 10: Donald Trump is accompanied by the media during the opening of The Trump International Golf Links Course on July 10, 2012 in Balmedie, Scotland. The controversial �100m course opens to the public on Sunday July 15. Further plans to build hotels and homes on the site have been put on hold until a decision has been made on the building of an offshore windfarm nearby. (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)
ABERDEEN, SCOTLAND - JULY 10: Donald Trump plays a round of golf after the opening of The Trump International Golf Links Course on July 10, 2012 in Balmedie, Scotland. The controversial �100m course opens to the public on Sunday July 15. Further plans to build hotels and homes on the site have been put on hold until a decision has been made on the building of an offshore windfarm nearby. (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)
Donald Trump views developments to his luxury golf resort during a visit to the Menie estate in Aberdeenshire. (Photo by Danny Lawson/PA Images via Getty Images)
Donald Trump swings a golf club on the Menie Estate, where his controversial luxury golf resort will be built. The coastal resort in Balmedie, Aberdeenshire, will have two golf courses, a 450-bedroom hotel, 950 holiday apartments and 500 residential homes. (Photo by Andrew Milligan/PA Images via Getty Images)
28 Aug 2008: Donald Trump and Sergio Garcia during the Deutsche Bank Championship Pro-Am event at the TPC Boston in Norton, MA. (Photo by Richard Cashin /Icon SMI/Icon Sport Media via Getty Images)
13 Jul. 2006: Businessman Donald Trump misses a putt to the right during the 2006 American Century Celebrity Golf Tournament played at the Edgewood Tahoe golf course in Stateline, NV. (Photo By John Cordes/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
13 Jul. 2006: Businessman Donald Trump heads for the next hole during the 2006 American Century Celebrity Golf Tournament played at the Edgewood Tahoe golf course in Stateline, NV. (Photo By John Cordes/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
UNITED STATES - FEBRUARY 11: Donald Trump climbs back up to the green after chipping during the third round of the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am on Pebble Beach Golf Links in Pebble Beach, California on February 11, 2006. (Photo by Chris Condon/PGA)
Donald Trump during the third round of the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am on Pebble Beach Golf Links in Pebble Beach, California on February 11, 2006. (Photo by Chris Condon/PGA)
PEBBLE BEACH, CA - FEBRUARY 9: Donald Trump hits a shot during the first round of the AT&T Pro Am on February 9, 2006 at the Poppy Hills Golf Course in Pebble Beach, California. (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)
View of American football player Tom Brady (seated left) and real estate developer Donald Trump in a golf cart at Trump International Golf Club, Palm Beach, Florida, January 22, 2006. (Photo by Davidoff Studios/Getty Images)
UNITED STATES - FEBRUARY 10: Donald Trump during the first round of the 2005 AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am at Spyglass Hill Golf Club in Pebble Beach, California on February 10, 2005. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
PEBBLE BEACH, CA - FEBRUARY 12: Businessman Donald Trump looks on while waiting on the second fairway of the Pebble Beach Golf Links during the third round of the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am National Tournament on February 12, 2005 in Pebble Beach, California. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
UNITED STATES - FEBRUARY 10: Donald Trump during the first round of the 2005 AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am at Spyglass Hill Golf Club in Pebble Beach, California on February 10, 2005. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
Mel Melcon Developer Donald Trump poses next to a green side bunker on hole 11 at his new golf course, Trump National Golf Club in Rancho Palos Verdes, on Friday morning. Digital image taken on 01/14/05 (Photo by Mel Melcon/ Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)
UNITED STATES - JUNE 09: Donald Trump putts on the ninth hole in the pro-amateur Buick Classic at the Westchester Country Club in Harrison, N.Y. (Photo by Howard Earl Simmons/NY Daily News Archive via Getty Images)
PLEASANTVILLE, NY - JULY 27: Donald Trump attends Trump National Golf Club Grand Opening on July 27, 2002 at Briarcliff Manor in Pleasantville, New Jersey. (Photo by Ron Galella/WireImage)
PLEASANTVILLE, NY - JULY 27: Ron Howard and Donald Trump attend Trump National Golf Opening on July 27, 2002 at Briarcliff Manor in Pleasantville, New York. (Photo by Ron Galella/WireImage)
31 Jan 2002: Donald Trump hits his second shot on the par 4 8th hole during the first round of the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am at Spyglass Golf Course in Pebble Beach, California. Digital Image. Mandatory Credit: Craig Jones/Getty Images
Married American couple, real estate developer Donald Trump and actress Marla Maples, with their daughter Tiffany, pose in a club Car golf cart on the Mar-a-Lago estate, Palm Beach, Florida, late 1990s. (Photo by Davidoff Studios/Getty Images)
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"The only problem our economy has is the Fed," the president tweeted. "They don't have a feel for the Market, they don't understand necessary Trade Wars or Strong Dollars or even Democrat Shutdowns over Borders. The Fed is like a powerful golfer who can't score because he has no touch — he can't putt!"

Peter Conti-Brown, a financial historian at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, said: "We've never seen anything like this full-blown and full-frontal assault. This is a disaster for the Fed, a disaster for the president and a disaster for the economy."

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin made a round of calls to the heads of the nation's six largest banks Sunday and said they assured him they have ample money to finance their normal operations. It was an attempt to calm jitters, but it only raised new concerns about the economy.

Most economists expect growth to slow in 2019, not slide into a full-blown recession. In fact, many economic barometers still look encouraging. Unemployment is at 3.7 percent, the lowest since 1969. Inflation is tame. Pay growth has picked up. Consumers boosted their spending this holiday season.

Fed board members are nominated by the president, but they've historically made decisions independent of the White House. Trump nominated Powell last year to become chairman.

But the president has voiced his anger over the Fed's decision to raise its key short-term rate four times in 2018. Those measures are intended to prevent the economy from overheating.

Trump's latest remarks only created more uncertainty for already unnerved investors who have seen all of this year's stock market gains evaporate.

"Now we're having a correction and we're down for the year, so the narrative people get drawn to is that perhaps his more unpredictable policies are bad for the market," said Craig Birk, chief investment officer at Personal Capital. "The separation between the president and the Fed, maybe just causes a little more concern than it would have a few months ago."

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AP Economics Writer Josh Boak contributed to this report from Washington

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