With the Presidents Day holiday approaching I thought it was a good idea to write an article showing the performance of the stock market during the terms of Presidents since Richard Nixon. I decided to start with Nixon because I was born in 1969. Performance numbers for Presidents before Ronald Reagan are based on the performance of the Dow Jones Industrial Index which can be obtained by reading a study by Colin Cieszynski at CMC Markets and performance numbers during and after Reagan will be based on the S&P 500 Index.
Richard Nixon (1969-1974): Annual Return of -3.5% & Total Return of -19.7%.
Gerald Ford (1974-1977): Annual Return of +13.5% & Total Return of +32.6%.
Jimmy Carter (1977-1981): Annual Return of -1% & Total Return of -4%.
Ronald Reagan (1981-1989): Annual Return of +10.6% & Total Return of +124.5%.
George H. W. Bush (1989-1993): Annual Return of +14.5% & Total Return of +71.9%.
Bill Clinton (1993-2001): Annual Return of +17.4% & Total Return of +262.9%.
George W. Bush (2001-2009): Annual Return of -3.9%&
Barack Obama (2009-Present): Annual Return of +19.5% & Total Return of +144.8%.
So there you go, not too many surprises except maybe that President George Bush the elder was not re-elected despite having pretty good performance numbers and that his son was re-elected with such terrible performance numbers. I would say, going forward that the main thing to watch now is whether President Obama can top the unbelievable stock market performance of President Clinton. Time will tell.
Note: Performance numbers for the S&P 500 are derived from the performance of Vanguard's S&P 500 Fund (VFINX) and the S&P 500 Index ETF (SPY). Performance stats courtesy of Longrundata.com, Buyupside, and CMC Markets.
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Disclosure: The author has no positions in any stocks mentioned, and no plans to initiate any positions within the next 72 hours.