Jan 20, 2022 - Politics & Policy

Biden stock market gets Trumped

 Data: Yahoo Finance; Chart: Jared Whalen/Axios
Data: Yahoo Finance; Chart: Jared Whalen/Axios

U.S. stocks markets performed worse during the first year of Joe Biden's presidency than during the first year of Donald Trump's presidency.

By the numbers: The S&P 500 rose 19.3% between the market close before Biden's inauguration and yesterday's market close, compared to a 24.1% increase for Trump during the similar period.

  • The S&P 500 had done better under most of Biden's first year than under Trump's, but the "lead" flipped in recent weeks due to a market selloff.
  • Both the Dow Jones Industrial Average and Nasdaq Composite also grew much slower under Biden than under Trump.

Historical context: U.S. stocks gained more during President Obama's first year than during Trump's, and also for their entire first terms.

  • Part of this relates to how it's easier to get larger percentage gains when you begin with smaller numbers.
  • The S&P 500 was at just 850 when Obama's term began, 2,270 for Trump and 3,816 for Biden.
  • But it's not entirely about the law of small numbers, as evidenced by the start of George W. Bush's presidency, when the S&P 500 was 65% smaller than during the start of Biden's.

Be smart: Stock market performance is not necessarily reflective of economic health, for better or for worse.

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