NEW YORK — Wall Street to Washington: end the shutdown and move on.
The U.S. stock market ended lower Wednesday as traders, Europe’s central banker and Wall Street CEOs urged Congress to stop the two-day government shutdown that has closed national parks and put hundreds of thousands of federal employees on furlough.
The shutdown is ill-timed because the U.S. economic recovery is still shaky.
U.S. businesses added 166,000 jobs last month, payroll company ADP said Wednesday, a level consistent with only a modest improvement in hiring. Economists polled by FactSet had forecast 180,000 jobs would be added.
“It’s clear that the economy hasn’t picked up steam like people were anticipating,” said Kate Warne, and investment strategist at Edward Jones, an investment adviser. “Especially with the government shutdown, there’s not a lot that is going to help it do so over the next couple of months.”
Wall Street made it clear that the longer the budget fight drags on, the more its bankers worry about significant damage to the economy and the possibility that Congress won’t allow the government to borrow more. Earlier, European Central Bank head Mario Draghi said that the partial U.S. government shutdown was a risk to economic recoveries in the U.S. and globally.
Goldman Sachs Chief Executive Officer Lloyd Blankfein left a White House meeting and said lawmakers are risking the economic recovery if they don’t raise the federal debt ceiling.
Blankfein was among a group of financial-industry executives including JPMorgan Chase & Co. CEO Jamie Dimon and Brian Moynihan, CEO of Bank of America, who met Wednesday with President Barack Obama. “There’s a consensus that we shouldn’t do anything that hurts this recovery,” Blankfein said as he left the White House. “They shouldn’t use the threat of causing the U.S. to fail on its obligations to repay its debt as a cudgel.”
The group met earlier with the No. 2 and No. 3 House Republicans, Majority Leader Eric Cantor of Virginia and Kevin McCarthy of California.
Blankfein said the executives were “apolitical” and not taking sides on the underlying political issues, including Republican demands that the president’s health care law be stripped of funding or delayed as the price of a deal.
Those arguments, he said, shouldn’t be connected to taking action to make sure the government can pay its bills.
“There’s precedent for a government shutdown; there’s no precedent for default,” he said. “We really haven’t seen this before, and I’m not anxious to be part of the process to witness this.”
Moreover, the Chamber of Commerce has sent a letter to Congress signed by about 250 business groups urging no shutdown and warning that a debt ceiling crisis could lead to an economic disaster.Bloomberg News contributed to this report.