Special Report

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

Source: Hulton Archive / Archive Photos via Getty Images

Warren G. Harding
> DJIA performance: +23.4%
> Served from: March 3, 1921 – Aug. 2, 1923
> Months in office: 29
> Party affiliation: Republican

The first president elected to office after WWI, Warren Harding served during a post-war economic boom. Harding also enacted several significant economic and social changes, including lower taxes, increased tariffs, and strict immigration restrictions. Though his administration is now remembered for its numerous scandals, the Dow climbed 23.4% from his inauguration until his death in office, a little more than two years later.

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Calvin Coolidge
> DJIA performance: +230.5%
> Served from: Aug. 2, 1923 – March 4, 1929
> Months in office: 67
> Party affiliation: Republican

President Calvin Coolidge presided over the largest gains in the Dow of any president since the end of WWI. Vice president to Warren Harding, Coolidge found himself in the Oval Office following Harding’s sudden death in 1923. Coolidge cleaned up the widespread corruption of Harding’s administration, cut income, gift, and inheritance taxes, reduced government spending, and adopted a pro-business posture.

Coolidge served during a decade of unprecedented growth in wealth, consumerism, and urbanization that came to be known as the Roaring Twenties. Under Coolidge, the Dow shot up 230.5%. Just six months after Coolidge left office in March 1929, the United States slipped into an economic depression that wiped out all stock market gains accumulated during his presidency.

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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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Franklin D. Roosevelt
> DJIA performance: +198.6%
> Served from: March 4, 1933 – April 12, 1945
> Months in office: 145
> Party affiliation: Democratic

President Franklin Roosevelt served as president longer than anyone in history. Elected to office four times, Roosevelt sat in the Oval Office for 145 months and presided over some of the most tumultuous times in American — and world — history. Taking office during the height of the Great Depression, Roosevelt began implementing his “New Deal” policies to turn the economy around. Unpopular with the business community, Roosevelt tightened finance regulation by creating the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation and SEC as well as a pension system with the Social Security Act.

Despite dipping at the outset of America’s entrance to WWII, the Dow shot up by nearly 200% under Roosevelt.

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Harry S. Truman
> DJIA performance: +75.2%
> Served from: April 12, 1945 – Jan. 20, 1953
> Months in office: 93
> Party affiliation: Democratic

President Harry Truman became commander in chief during the final year of WWII, following the death of Franklin Roosevelt. During Truman’s second year in office, the stock market collapsed amid a spike in inflation and a high degree of speculation in the stock market at the end of the war. In the following years, the country slipped into a recession, unemployment spiked, railroad workers went on strike, and production of consumer goods was not meeting demand. Still, Truman ran for a second term and won, despite longshot odds.

In his second term, the economy turned around, and the unemployment rate fell from a high of 7.9% to below 3.0%. The stock market surged, more than making up for losses in his first term. From Truman’s first month in office to his last, the Dow soared 75.2%.