Some Dow Jones Industrial Average statistics, by United States President


The current President of the United States, Donald Trump, has tweeted several times about the stock market.

(Not an exhaustive list)

Since I look at data for a living I thought I would take a look at how the stock market has actually performed historically, broken up by President.

I had some trouble initially deciding what benchmark to use to measure stock market performance. I finally settled on the Dow Jones Industrial Average, even though it is not a particularly good indicator, because:

  • President Trump cited it directly.
  • The historical data goes back quite a long time, which increases the number of presidents I can compare.

I downloaded the DJIA data from https://stooq.com/q/d/?s=^dji and I hand-copied the US presidents from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Presidents_of_the_United_States.

Then I wrote a small PowerShell script (~150 lines) which ran through both lists and generated the output below.

I omitted Presidents whose terms did not overlap the Dow Jones data I had, which started during Grover Cleveland's second term, and continued on to the day before I ran the script.

I calculated the annualized return using the following formula:
return = ((last price) / (first price))1 / (time in years)

President First market day Last market day Annual return Record highs
Date Open Date Close Count Mean days to new record high
Grover Cleveland 1896-05-27 29.39 1897-03-04 29.94 2 % 8 35
William McKinley 1897-03-05 30.02 1901-09-13 48.71 11 % 70 24
Theodore Roosevelt 1901-09-16 50.70 1909-03-04 59.24 2 % 36 76
William Taft 1909-03-05 59.46 1913-03-04 58.45 0 % 0 N/A
Woodrow Wilson 1913-03-05 59.16 1921-03-04 75.11 3 % 66 44
Warren Harding 1921-03-07 75.26 1923-08-02 88.20 7 % 0 N/A
Calvin Coolidge 1923-08-06 88.51 1929-03-04 313.90 25 % 171 12
Herbert Hoover 1929-03-05 313.90 1933-03-03 53.80 -36 % 25 58
Franklin Roosevelt 1933-03-15 57.10 1945-04-12 158.50 9 % 0 N/A
Harry Truman 1945-04-13 158.50 1953-01-20 288.00 8 % 0 N/A
Dwight Eisenhower 1953-01-21 288.00 1961-01-20 634.40 10 % 142 21
John Kennedy 1961-01-23 634.40 1963-11-22 711.50 4 % 30 34
Lyndon Johnson 1963-11-26 733.00 1969-01-20 931.30 5 % 112 17
Richard Nixon 1969-01-21 931.30 1974-08-09 777.30 -3 % 16 127
Gerald Ford 1974-08-12 777.30 1977-01-20 959.00 9 % 0 N/A
Jimmy Carter 1977-01-21 959.00 1981-01-20 950.70 0 % 0 N/A
Ronald Reagan 1981-01-21 950.70 1989-01-20 2235.40 11 % 153 19
George H. W. Bush 1989-01-23 2235.40 1993-01-20 3242.00 10 % 56 26
Bill Clinton 1993-01-21 3242.00 2001-01-19 10587.60 16 % 266 11
George W. Bush 2001-01-22 10581.90 2009-01-20 7949.09 -4 % 56 52
Barack Obama 2009-01-21 7949.17 2017-01-20 19827.25 12 % 121 24
Donald Trump 2017-01-23 19794.79 2017-11-01 23435.01 24 % 54 5
Overall 1896-05-27 29.39 2017-11-01 23435.01 6 % 1382 32

I will mostly leave the interpretation of this summary to you, dear reader. Nevertheless, I will hazard some observations:

  • The Dow Jones generally rises, at an average rate of 6% a year (though it is bursty.)
  • Record highs are quite common, happening on average once a month (though this is also bursty.)
  • Under President Trump, so far, the Dow Jones has an annual return of 24%. Compare to Calvin Coolidge's 25%, Herber Hoover's -36%, and the overall 6%.
  • Under President Trump, so far, the Dow Jones has reached a record high about every 5 days. Compare to Calvin Coolidge's and Bill Clinton's about-every-11-or-12-days, Franklin Roosevelt's and Harry Truman's (combined) zero highs over 20 years, and the overall about every 32 days.

EDIT: uploaded script and a snapshot of the source data to GitHub https://github.com/mvaneerde/blog/tree/master/dow-jones-by-president

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