Treasury Secretary Mnuchin tells Cramer there will be a lot of ‘pent-up demand’ when crisis ends

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Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin testifies before a Senate Appropriations subcommittee on Capitol Hill in Washington, May 15, 2019.

Jonathan Ernst | Reuters

This is a developing story. Check back for updates.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin told CNBC on Monday that there will be a surge of demand for stocks once the coronavirus threat abates.

The Treasury secretary told CNBC’s Jim Cramer that “There will be a huge amount of pent up demand when this is done. And it will be done.”

“Look for companies that have a ton of liquidity, an Apple will have customers,” Mnuchin added. “That’s just a given. The goal is not to bail out companies.”

His comments came minutes before what’s expected to be another swoon on Wall Street, with markets set to open down about 10%. Dow Jones Industrial Average futures were off by more than 1,000 points, triggering the limit down level. S&P 500 and Nasdaq 100 futures were also at their downside limits.

The SPDR S&P 500 ETF Trust (SPY) — which tracks the S&P 500 — plummeted 10% in the premarket, signaling that a “circuit breaker” will be triggered shortly after the regular session starts. Before Monday’s moves, both the Dow and the S&P 500 were down more than 20% from their respective intraday records hit in February.

But Mnuchin also reassured Cramer that he believes the nation’s largest banks will be able to handle this market downturn unlike that which occurred in the 2008 financial crisis.

“The banking system can handle this after the Fed’s actions. Now it is a question of liquidity for those who need it… To keep entities from closing … and help the working person,” he said. “Our stimulus is designed to let small businesses keep people on payroll… we’ll always be thinking about what happens after we get through this.”

He also lauded the Federal Reserve and its decisive action to cut U.S. interest rates to zero.

“The Fed is ahead of the issues and I’m grateful; nobody has to pull money out of the banks,” he said. “Liquidity for small businesses is chief priority. … Restaurant and bar owners, for example – we’re trying to get money to them to tide them over.”

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