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How Trump's Stock Market Return Compares To Obama, Bush And Other Past Presidents

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Wayne Duggan
·2 min read
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Tuesday officially marked President Donald Trump’s last full day in office. Investors now have a chance to get some perspective on Trump’s term by comparing the impact his policies have had on the country to the impact of previous administrations.

With President-elect Joe Biden set to take over on Jan. 20, here’s a look back at how the stock market performed under Trump.

Trump’s Stock Market Numbers: Trump campaigned in 2016 and in 2020 as the best choice for the U.S. economy. The best representation of the real U.S. economy is gross domestic product, but Trump often used the stock market as a scorecard for his policies.

Here’s a look at annual S&P 500 returns during Trump’s presidency.

2017: +19.4%
2018: -6.2%
2019: +28.8%
2020: +16.3%

How Trump Compares: Overall, S&P 500 returns averaged about 14.5% during Trump’s term in office. Here’s a look at how those returns stack up to President Barack Obama:

2009: +23.4%
2010: +12.7%
2011: +zero
2012: +13.4%
2013: +29.6%
2014: +11.3%
2015: -0.7%
2016: +9.5%

In his eight years in office, S&P 500 annual returns averaged 12.4% under Obama — about 2% lower than Trump’s growth rate.

Related Link: Here's How Americans Are Spending Their Stimulus Payments

Here’s a look at average S&P 500 annual returns under the previous six U.S. presidents:

  • Jimmy Carter (D): 6.8%

  • Ronald Reagan (R): 9.8%

  • George H.W. Bush (R): 12.8%

  • Bill Clinton (D): 15.8%

  • George W. Bush (R): -2.4%

  • Barack Obama (D): 12.4%

  • Donald Trump (R): 14.5%

In his four years in office, annual S&P 500 returns under Trump were second-best among the past seven presidents.

Overall, stock market returns were highest under Clinton and Trump. Stock market returns were lowest during the second Bush presidency and the Carter administration.

Benzinga’s Take: The stock market performed well under Trump, but investors seemingly have high expectations for Biden as well given the S&P has rallied another 12.7% since the November 2020 election.

The strong start to 2021 is historically atypical given stocks have performed better in post-election years when the incumbent president wins the election than in years following a change in leadership.

A version of this article was originally published on Oct. 28, 2020.

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