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Global investor Barry Sternlicht: Trump ‘kind of right’ on wanting to get US back to work soon

Barry Sternlicht

Cameron Costa | CNBC

Barry Sternlicht, founder of investment firm Starwood Capital, told CNBC on Tuesday he supports President Donald Trump‘s desire to get America working again soon.

Trump is ”kind of right” that the U.S. economy can’t remain virtually shut down forever because of the coronavirus crisis, Sternlicht said in a “Squawk Box” interview. ”We don’t have enough money to fix” the economy if it were to die.

At a news conference Monday evening, the president suggested he wants to urge businesses to reopen, sooner rather than later. “I’m not looking at months,” the president said.

Sternlicht also expressed hope that the Trump administration and Capitol Hill will quickly pass an economic stimulus bill.

U.S. stock futures hit 5% “limit up” on Tuesday as top Senate and White House officials neared a $2 trillion deal to rescue the economy. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi came out with House Democrats’ $2.5 trillion bill.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed down 582 points, or 3.1% on Monday after the Senate failed for a second time in less than 24 hours to advance the emergency relief bill.

Sternlicht said Tuesday he’s “just as bullish” as he was when he appeared on “Squawk Box” earlier this month. He said then he was optimistic about a fast recovery by the stock market once the worst of the outbreak passes.

“We are using this [market volatility] as buying opportunities in the public markets,” he said at the time, adding he saw a “V-shaped almost for sure” bounce for the market, meaning a quick down and a quick back up.

However, he did warn then that the market and the economy could get “really bad” before they get better.

Sternlicht’s comments on March 13 came the morning after Wall Street’s then-worst session since the stock market crash in 1987. The Dow later that day surged more than 9% nearly erasing the 10% plunge in the prior session.

However, in the next trading day, March 16, the Dow’s nearly 3,000-point drop became the worst since “Black Monday,” more than three decades ago. The Dow has seen huge swings, more to the downside than up, nearly every day since.

The Dow has lost nearly 12%, as of Monday’s close, since Sternlicht’s appearance before the opening bell on March 13. The Dow has lost 37% from last month’s record high.

Sternlicht in 1991 started Starwood Capital, which created Starwood Hotels, now part of Marriott, as well as other leisure brands. Starwood Capital, with over $60 billion in assets under management, focuses on investing in global real estate and running hotels as well as opportunities in the oil and gas sectors and energy infrastructure.

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