- The Washington Times - Wednesday, March 31, 2004


The Federal Reserve knocked down a rumor swirling in financial markets yesterday that Chairman Alan Greenspan had suffered a heart attack.

“There is no truth to the rumor. The chairman is fine,” said Michelle Smith, spokeswoman for the Federal Reserve.

Mr. Greenspan, who recently turned 78, has been chief of the Federal Reserve since August 1987.

He is often described as the second most important person in Washington because his comments can move financial markets and for his lead role in setting interest-rate policy in the United States, the world’s largest economy.

Rumors that Mr. Greenspan was having health problems were circulating on Wall Street before the stock market opened, but the gossip did not appear to have a major effect on trading.

Stocks did move lower shortly after 10 a.m., as the first media reports about the rumor surfaced, but the selling was more likely motivated by a disappointing economic report that monitors manufacturing activity in the Midwest region, said Brian Pears, head equity trader at Victory Capital Management in Cleveland.

On Friday, Mr. Greenspan missed delivering remarks to a monetary conference because he had a cold, but he still worked from home.

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