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The Stock Market's Rally Under Trump Among The Best Ever: Here's How His First Year Compares To Other Presidents

Wayne Duggan

There are certainly plenty of things to criticize about President Donald Trump’s first year in office, but stock market performance isn't one of them. Trump has repeatedly taken credit for the huge bull market that continued during his first year at the White House.

There’s no doubt Republican policies such as corporate deregulation and tax reform likely played a huge role in the rally. But how does the one-year "Trump rally" compare to stock market performance following previous elections?

How Trump Rally Stacks Up

According to CFRA, the S&P 500 rally in the year following Trump’s first-term election was third best among the past 12 U.S. presidents. The only two presidents who outperformed Trump’s 21.3 percent market gain in the first year were George H. W. Bush (22.9 percent gain) and John F. Kennedy (27 percent gain). The only other president to deliver double-digit market gains in his first year is Bill Clinton (10.3 percent gain).

In regards to the Dow Jones Industrial Average, only Franklin Roosevelt's 96.1 percent first-year gain topped Trump's 32.1 percent advance.

The two presidents who ushered in the worst stock market performances were George W. Bush (22.1 percent decline) and Jimmy Carter (11.4 percent decline). From a partisan standpoint, four out of the past six Democrat presidents have generated market gains in their first year, while only three out of six Republican presidents have done so.

Overall, the S&P 500 has averaged a 2.2 percent gain in the year following the election of a Republican president and a 5.8 percent gain in the year following the election of a Democrat.

A Long Way To Go

Trump may be off to a strong start, but he still has a long way to go to catch President Obama’s full-term stock market performance. During Obama’s eight years in office, the SPDR S&P 500 ETF Trust (NYSE: SPY) rallied 181.4 percent. Keep in mind, Obama took office as the country was still recovering from the the Great Recession.

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