Midday Market Minute: So Far, Obama's Term Has Been Very Good for Investors


Love him or loathe him, Barack Obama has done very well by investors.

There's a long way to go until President Obama hands over the reins of power in January 2017. But as of right now, his presidency will go down as one of the best for stock market investors.

New York Times columnist Floyd Norris points out that the S&P 500 (^GSPC) has doubled during the terms of only four presidential administrations, and President Obama is in line to join that exclusive club.

The Dow is up 105 percent since the day he took office, and climbing some more today.

Of course, timing has a lot to do with it.

<b class="credit">Getty Images</b>
Getty Images

When Obama took office for his first term, the economy was in the midst of the financial crisis and the stock market had already lost 45 percent of its value from the then record high from October 2007.

It would continue to lose ground for another two months, before bottoming out in March 2009. Since then, the market has staged a long, steady rally.

The S&P 500 is up nearly 16 percent so far this year, up 55 percent during the past three years, and since Obama moved into the Oval Office, it's more than doubled in value.

How does that compare with other presidential terms?

Well, Bill Clinton is the runaway winner. During his two terms during the 1990s, the S&P more than tripled -- rising 210 percent.

During Franklin D. Roosevelt's 12 years in office, it jumped 141 percent. Dwight Eisenhower oversaw a 129 percent post-war jump, and Ronald Reagan 118 percent.

Norris notes that if you use the Dow Jones industrial average (^DJI) -- which is an older index than the S&P -- Calvin Coolidge is the all time winner. The Dow rose 256 percent during his six years in office.

One thing all of these presidents have in common is that they took office during or after periods of war or major economic slumps.

On the flip side, the worst stock market period came during the one term of Herbert Hoover -- with the S&P plunging more than 30 percent.

The S&P posted single-digit declines when George W. Bush and Richard Nixon were in office.

One more note about the Obama market. He has the best average annual gain of any president during the 84 years that the S&P has been around. It's up 18 percent for each of the four-plus years he's been in office.

-Produced by Drew Trachtenberg


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