What the Stock Market Did Under Every President in the Last 100 Years

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17. Herbert Hoover
> DJIA performance: -82.1%
> Served from: March 4, 1929 – March 4, 1933
> Months in office: 48
> Party affiliation: Republican

President Herbert Hoover presided over the worst economic downturn in U.S. history. Supported by rapid economic expansion in the 1920s, the stock market soared leading up to Hoover’s presidency. However, by the end of the decade, unemployment and consumer debt began to rise, while productivity fell, and the fundamentals were no longer there. In October 1929, just eight months after Hoover took office, the bottom dropped out. The stock market plummeted in a massive selloff and continued to plunge for much of Hoover’s presidency. Hoover’s efforts to revitalize the economy by supporting financial institutions with government loans proved insufficient.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell by a staggering 82.1% under Hoover. Due largely to poor economic conditions, Hoover was a single-term president, losing to Democrat Franklin D. Roosevelt by a landslide.

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16. Richard M. Nixon
> DJIA performance: -28.3%
> Served from: Jan. 20, 1969 – Aug. 9, 1974
> Months in office: 67
> Party affiliation: Republican

Richard Nixon, the 37th president of United States served in tumultuous economic times. Perhaps the most significant market events were the product of his own doing. In 1971, Nixon ordered a freeze on all prices and wages in the United States for 90 days to get inflation under control. Though the policy was ultimately a failure, it initially led to a market rally that fizzled later during his term. Watergate also had considerable influence over investor sentiment. From the time Nixon was named as a Watergate conspirator in March 1974 to his resignation five months later, investor confidence was on a downward trend.

On its whole, the Nixon era was not a good time for stock market investors. The DJIA tumbled 28.3% while Nixon was in the White House.

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15. George W. Bush
> DJIA performance: -26.5%
> Served from: Jan. 20, 2001 – Jan. 20, 2009
> Months in office: 96
> Party affiliation: Republican

Under President George W. Bush, the stock market was roiled by several major geopolitical events. After the terror attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, which occurred during Bush’s first year in office, the markets were closed for several days. On the first day of trading following the attacks, the DJIA plunged 14% in a massive selloff. Though the market would regain its previous value in less than a month, the War on Terror and turmoil in the Middle East undercut investor confidence.

By 2007, well into Bush’s second term, the DJIA reached its highest point in history at the time. However, later that year, stock markets responded to the onset of the subprime mortgage crisis and the unravelling of the largest economic downturn since the Great Depression of the 1930s — the Dow lost more than half of its value over 18 months. Bush left office during a historic selloff, with the Dow down 26.5% under his leadership.

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14. James Carter
> DJIA performance: -0.7%
> Served from: Jan. 20, 1977 – Jan. 20, 1981
> Months in office: 48
> Party affiliation: Democrat

During his four years, President Jimmy Carter struggled to adequately address the most serious economic issues of the day: inflation and unemployment. Though the unemployment rate dipped during the middle of his presidency, it was above 7% both when he entered and left office. A flagging economy was one of several reasons Carter lost to Republican challenger Ronald Reagan in the 1980 general election. Over the course of Carter’s single term in the White House, the Dow remained effectively flat.

Source: National Archives / Getty Images

13. John F. Kennedy
> DJIA performance: +15.8%
> Served from: Jan. 20, 1961 – Nov. 22, 1963
> Months in office: 34
> Party affiliation: Democrat

President John Kennedy’s time in the Oval Office was marked by the geopolitical turmoil of the botched Bay of Pigs invasion and the Cuban Missile Crisis. Some of the tumult was also economic. Determined to address inflation upon taking office, Kennedy implemented a steel price rollback (steel being a widely used raw material). The business community did not react favorably and the Dow tanked.

The setback was not so substantial that markets did not recover under Kennedy’s watch. Many attribute the market rally that continued through the end of his presidency to Kennedy’s economic initiatives, which included increased minimum wage, expanded unemployment and social security benefits, more highway spending, and lower tax rates. From the day Kennedy took office until his assassination nearly three years later, the Dow climbed 15.8%.