Stocks have had a great run in Obama's term

One can argue over how big a role the administration played in the huge market rally since March 2009. Gains for, say, Apple, Caterpillar and others are really due to management skill. But Obama did provide one crucial element to the recovery.

By Charley Blaine Nov 5, 2012 7:44PM

For all of the complaints of the business community about Barack Obama, they can't complain much about what his administration and the Federal Reserve have done for the stock market.

The Dow Jones industrials ($INDU) are up 58.3% since he took office. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index ($INX) is up 66.7%. The Nasdaq Composite Index ($COMPX) is up 96.1%. The Russell 2000 Index ($RUT) is up 75.7%.


Remember that Obama took office during the 2008-09 market crash. The market bottomed on March 9, 2009, about seven weeks after he was sworn in. Since then, the Dow is up 100.3%. The S&P 500 has jumped 109.5%, and the Nasdaq has soared 136.5%. The Russell 2000 has surged 138.5%.

If you measure the Dow's gain during a presidential term, Obama ranks seventh of the 19 presidents who took office in the 20th or 21st centuries. He would rank sixth if you measured from the March 9 low.

Republican Calvin Coolidge, who became president after Warren Harding died in 1923, had the best Dow gain during his years in office: 262.8%. The market surged as radios and automobiles became must-haves for Americans, as opposed to gadgets for the affluent.

Next was the 225.2% Dow gain during Bill Clinton's years, a rally built on the personal-computer revolution and the dot-com bubble.

The problem with the Coolidge and Clinton markets was that economic optimism morphed into pure market bubbles. Their successors had to deal with the ensuing blow-offs.

During George W. Bush's terms, stocks slumped after the dot-com bubble burst and the country was staggered by the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks. The stock market rose again as the economy recovered but was taken down when the housing bubble burst.

Management execution obviously had a much larger impact on the stocks than Barack Obama. He would surely concede he has nothing to do with Apple's (AAPL) 626.3% gain since its 2009 low, which occurred ironically on inauguration day. Can you say iPod, iPhone and iPad?

Nor would he claim anything to do with Google's (GOOG) 165% gain since its 2008 low, or's (AMZN) 569% gain since November 2008, nor Caterpillar's (CAT) 291% gain since its March 2009 bottom.

Still, among the administration's major achievements are stabilizing the nation's banking system and providing support for the auto industry. The former was done in cooperation with the Federal Reserve. Those helped the markets and the economy.

The administration conducted stress tests on 19 financial institutions, 18 of which were publicly held. All of the 18 stocks are higher, led by Fifth Third Bancorp (FITB), up more than 1,000% from its 2009 low, Capital One Financial (COF), up 630%, and American Express (AXP), up 449%.

Presidents and the Dow since 1900

Years in office

Dow chg. during term
Calvin Coolidge


Bill Clinton


Franklin Roosevelt


Ronald Reagan


Dwight Eisenhower

Harry Truman


Barack Obama 


George H.W. Bush 


Gerald Ford


Theodore Roosevelt 

Warren Harding


Lyndon Johnson


John Kennedy


Jimmy Carter


William Howard Taft

Woodrow Wilson


Richard Nixon 


George W. Bush 


Herbert Hoover



Nov 6, 2012 9:18AM

Quantitative Easing is what is propping this market up which after 4 yrs is still not over the 2008 high of over 14000. How much more debt do you want for American taxpayers? How many more downgrades do you want? Do you want a vengeful president or one that loves our country and has the business sense not to borrow from China for our government debt service. Romney has way more business experience. I am for Romney/Ryan ticket, straight Republican congress.

Nov 6, 2012 9:17AM
So MSN had to hav eits one last partisan article giving credit to Obama, "You did not build that."  So that means he had nothing to do with it.  Bernanke inflated it and the stock market was already driven down  by his pending election.  Where is the stock market in terms of its increase from 2008? Nowhere and that is the economic performance of an Obama administration.
Nov 6, 2012 8:39AM
The economy is much more than any collection of numbers, %ages, or profit margins. Fear that works its way into the family unit and causes indecision and/or poor decisions to be made can tear an economy to pieces.
Nov 6, 2012 8:25AM
When the markets taked in 2008 there was only one direction to go and that was up. Now you want to give credit to Obama for that????
Nov 6, 2012 7:50AM
All artificially induced by all the QE's, corporate earnings are all down, most companies are shedding costs and jobs. Don't believe the hype.
Nov 6, 2012 7:36AM

"The debt brought on during the Bush years was bad. The debt brought on buy obama is mulitple times worse. "


The debt brought on by Bush IS the debt paid by Obama. We would have owed it any way. The debt of Romney came straight out of his mouth during the debates. Did you listen or just block out Obama? We get into these predicaments because dim-wits are too ignorant to actually LISTEN. Romney's 5-point plan was all expense and no return. Are YOU willing to go further in debt for untried theories or to roll up our sleeves and get to work now that Obama has stopped the Bush bleeding?

Nov 6, 2012 7:00AM

Ben Bernanke "inspired" this "run", anyone with any economic sense knows it too.

Nov 6, 2012 6:09AM

I do not know the outcome of today's election.  My prayers are with Romney/Ryan.  The debt brought on during the Bush years was bad. The debt brought on buy obama is mulitple times worse.  His betrayal of EVERY promise he made four years ago disqualifies him for four more years in the mind of any clear thinking individual.

Currently we are on an unsustainable path of borrowing forty cents of every dollar spent by the federal government. When anyone talks of cutting spending, the DEMOCRATS begin their predicable fear mongering about losing "social security and medicare". 

With Romney/Ryan there is at least a chance that common sense will apply and spending cuts, working from the bottom up, least important, frivolius, and out rite stupid spending might be cut until out go equals income.

The idea that we can spend our way out of debt and tax our way to prosperity is a STUPID idea and that's obama's basic economic plan.  I hope he doesn't get four more years to prove it to the last of the sceptics.

Nov 6, 2012 12:52AM
Mitch McConnell, 2009: "Our Number one goal is to defeat Obama" (or words to that effect). Filibusters, obstructionism, no new ideas, just old recycled  trickle down, proven wrong ideas, INTENTIONALLY TRYING TO CRASH THE ECONOMY WITH "BALANCE THE BUDGET WITH SPENDING CUTS NO NEW REVENUE" RANTS GUARANTEED TO CAUSE RECESSION.  Thanks Republicans. It's been a SHAMEFUL exhibition of the rankest partisanship in history. Go kiss Grover Norquist's ring.
And then you have the GALL to criticize the president's "lack of leadership and failed policies. You really make me sick.

Nov 6, 2012 12:26AM

In 2008, Barack Obama pushed “Hope and Change.” Not a bad slogan until we all found out what he hoped to change: more taxes, an economic policy that’s strangling our economy, control of our healthcare, liberal Supreme Court judges, redefining marriage, full support of abortion, unconstitutional Executive Orders by the truck load, trampling on religious rights, diminished support for our international interests, seeming indifference to radical Islam’s terrorist agenda, CIA sex scandal, Fast and Furious weapon scandal, Benghazi scandal, fiscal cliff scandal....

AMERICANS DESERVE BETTER LEADERSHIP! Our country needs quality moral and fiscal responsible leadership. I am voting straight Republican ticket: Mitt Romney/Ryan and Republican Congress.

Nov 5, 2012 9:58PM

"With over 300 electoral votes..."


I agree. While the economy certainly has not recovered fast enough for me, I prefer some recovery to the Abyss Bush left us in. We have a very hard and long road ahead. The party times and inaccurate spewing of Romney is discomforting. Obama paid Bush's bills and used money to stabilize what he could. From this point forward, the main work is on Main Street not Wall Street. I certainly have no interest in Ryan's wars, imbecile budgeting and removal of programs that have far-reaching stability. It will be GREAT to get past tomorrow and begin reforming politics so We the People will never have to endure toxic marketing and the likes of Karl Rove... ever again.

Nov 5, 2012 8:10PM
With over 300 electoral votes, Oboma will continue to lead the economy back in the right direction!
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[BRIEFING.COM] The Dow, Nasdaq, and S&P 500 hover just north of their respective flat lines, while the Russell 2000 sports a solid gain of 0.6% after showing relative weakness yesterday.

Yesterday, the small-cap index reclaimed its 100-day (1150) and 200-day (1151) moving averages, but could not overtake the 50-day moving average (1152), which served as the session high for the index. Today, however, the Russell 2000 has climbed above that level and currently trades near the middle ... More


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