Presidents and the Market

Posted in politics at 7:35 pm by danvk

Here’s a list of presidents and the changes in the S&P 500 during their term. Since I don’t know the future of the markets, I put today’s close in for our current president.

Not to suggest that presidents have any impact on the stock market…

President End Date Close Change % Change Annual
G.W. Bush 14-Nov-08 $873.29 -$469.25 -34.95% -5.35%
Clinton 20-Jan-01 $1342.54 $909.17 209.79% 15.18%
G.H.W. Bush 20-Jan-93 $433.37 $146.74 51.19% 10.89%
Reagan 20-Jan-89 $286.63 $154.98 117.72% 10.21%
Carter 20-Jan-81 $131.65 $28.68 27.85% 6.34%
Ford 20-Jan-77 $102.97 $22.11 27.34% 10.37%
Nixon 9-Aug-74 $80.86 -$20.83 -20.48% -4.05%
Johnson 20-Jan-69 $101.69 $32.08 46.09% 7.62%
JFK 22-Nov-63 $69.61 $9.65 16.09% 5.40%
Eisenhower 20-Jan-61 $59.96 $33.82 129.38% 10.94%


  1. Greg said,

    November 15, 2008 at 8:51 pm

    Sure. Seems like you are “suggesting” it whether you admit it or not.

  2. Craig said,

    November 19, 2008 at 9:08 am

    Good example of two things:

    1. Giving presidents way to much credit when it comes to “managing” the economy.
    2. Coorelation != Causation.

    Another example that I heard mentioned in the hallways (paraphrased):

    In the 11 business days since Obama was elected (Nov. 4 close), the S&P500 has dropped 16%.

    Some more bad math that I find humorous:

    There are about 1000 business days till the next election. If this continues, by the next election, the S&P 500 will be 0.00001% of what it was Nov. 4.

  3. danvk said,

    November 19, 2008 at 9:35 am

    Hey guys, I said “Not to suggest that presidents have any impact on the stock market…”

    The thing I found most interesting (and should have called out in the post) is that the S&P 500 is actually down since Bush became president.

    I tend to think people like the Federal Reserve Chairman have more influence on the markets than the President. That being said, the president does have influence. The internet opened up to the public under Clinton, and that was responsible for a lot of the growth in the 90′s. Bush pushed for deregulation of the financial industry and look where that’s led us…

    Also, to make any sort of claims based on this data, I’d need to adjust for inflation. I imagine those gains under Carter and Ford weren’t real.

  4. Craig said,

    November 19, 2008 at 10:55 am

    Wiki Protest. Cite your source on Bush and deregulation. Also, acknowledge that Bush and the Republicans pushed for a Treasury supervisor of Freddie and Fannie, but the Democrats blocked him. In a partisan piece, Orson Scott Card takes on the media for under reporting this fact.

    It turns out I don’t like any of your sentences that end with … . As for my thoughts on the current crisis. It is extremely complex. There are a number of causes. Anyone who gives you a simple explanation is misrepresenting their case.I would start with some psychological causes.

    I have found Arnold Kling’s explanations the most compelling. He also gives a number of causes, but there is one I haven’t seen elsewhere. It wasn’t too much or too little regulation, but bad regulation that was the cause. Banks had lower capital requirements for CDOs than for a similar portfolio of the underlying morgages. They were given the incentive to buy loans that other institutions had originated. We all know how well that went. See his explanations here and here.