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Bush to Biden; $1,000 invested  in S&P 500 on day 1 of each presidency would have returned

Bush to Biden; $1,000 invested  in S&P 500 on day 1 of each presidency would have returned

While there are many ways to assess a presidency, one of the most common and frequently used gauges is the performance of the American stock market under any given administration.

This is, in fact, seemingly one of the preferred methods of assessment for the presidents themselves, given that the Biden White House has started focusing on the market’s performance as the election year began.

Such a focus hardly comes as a surprise given that historically, a strong performance for some of the biggest and most important indices – such as the S&P 500 and the Dow Jones industrial Average (DJIA) – in the final months before November have frequently translated to election victories for the incumbent Presidents.

With the trend and the popularity of the gauge in mind, Finbold decided to take a look at just how much a $1,000 investment in the S&P 500 made at the start of each of America’s 21st century presidencies would have returned through their durations, and by May 2024.

S&P 500 40-year chart. Source: Google

George W. Bush (January 20, 2001 – January 20, 2009)

The second President Bush took office in January 2001 in the midst of the Dot-com crash when the S&P 500 stood at 1,320 points.

Additionally, despite the subsequent recovery that arguably helped secure the second term, the damage of the bubble’s bursting was severe enough that the benchmark index was – at the start of 2005, below its 2001 levels and stood at 1,168.

This means that a $1,000 investment made at the start of Bush’s first term would have fallen to $884.85.

Given that the Bush administration was framed by two crises – the ending of the second term coinciding with the 2008 collapse – no investment made at the start of 2001 or 2005 would have offered growth.

Indeed, when Bush left office, the S&P 500 stood at approximately 900 points, meaning that a first-term $1,000 investment would have dropped to $681.82, and a second-term one would have fallen to $770.55.

Nonetheless, a purchase made either in 2001 or 2005 would have generated substantial returns by the time of publication in 2024 and would have seen the original $1,000 turn into either $3,990.79 or $4,510.14.

Barack Obama (January 20, 2009 – January 20, 2017)

Unlike under Bush, a $1,000 investment made under Barack Obama would have seen significant growth given that, while he became president during the crisis of 2008, his presidency oversaw a significant period of recovery.

Had an investor bought $1,000 worth of S&P 500 stocks in January 2009 – when the index stood at approximately 900 – they would have seen their assets grow to a value of $1,655.56 by the end of the first term and to $2,533.33 by the end of the second term.

An investment made in 2013, at the start of the second term, would have grown to $1,530.20 by the time Obama left office in 2017, given that the S&P 500 rose from approximately 1,490 to about 2,280 during the four years.

Finally, $1,000 put in the benchmark index in 2009 would have turned into $5,853.16 by 2024, and the same amount invested in 2013 would have become $3,535.46.

Donald Trump (January 20, 2017 – January 20, 2021)

Though former President Trump oversaw a major Iran war scare, the first year of COVID-19, and a brief financial crisis, the stock market grew substantially during his administration. 

In fact, even though the S&P 500 fell significantly in the first half of 2020, the recovery was strong enough that it erased all losses by the time the Republican president left office.

All in all, a $1,000 investment made in January 2017 – when the S&P 500 stood at approximately 2,280 – would have grown to $1,622.81 by the time Trump left office in January 2020, given the index itself rose to about 3,700 points.

Additionally, a January 2017 stock purchase would have grown to be worth $2,310.46 in May 2024.

Joe Biden (Incumbent)

Though the story of the first-term Joe Biden stock market is yet to be told in full, it has arguably entered its final chapter with the next election only half a year away.

Looking at the growth of a hypothetical $1,000 investment in the S&P 500 in January 2021 – when the incumbent President took office – the recent boasting about the market’s performance under the current administration does not appear idle.

Indeed, with the index rising from approximately 3,700 points to its press time height of 5,267.84, the aforementioned investment would have risen to $1,423.74.

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