Comparing Presidents, The S&P 500

Following up on Spencer’s post, here’s a look at the stock market

As a measure of the stock market, I use the price of the S&P 500 on January 20 (or the first weekday after January 20) of each year. (January 20 happens to be the inauguration date of the President.) I also adjust the S&P 500 for inflation.

Data on the stock market price comes from Yahoo Finance, and data for January’s CPI is used to adjust for inflation.

OK. Now for some graphs….

Some summary tables…

From this, we learn… the stock market rose the most during the Clinton administration. It rose slowly at first, only speeding up later. Presumably this is a function of the rapidly growing economy, and the internet and telecom bubble. My guess is that the incessant drumbeat about how Clinton’s tax cuts were sure to destroy the economy from some quarters also contributed to the slow ramp-up, and it took a few years before realization set in that things were not going to hell. Interestingly enough, Ike and GHW are second and third. This is interesting real GDP per capita or disposable (and after change in debt obligation) real income growth was poor under both.

Bringing up the rear in real growth… GW, Carter, and Nixon/Ford. The latter two had to content with inflation, and GW had to contend with the end of the bubble, but also an extremely friendly Fed to mitigate the effect. In the end, his own ineptitude carried the day and ran with it.

FWIW, what I wonder about is why Presidents who did pretty well on growth… especially JFK/LBJ, but also Reagan to a lesser extent, didn’t also oversee large increases in the stock market. Your thoughts?