Atlanta Financial Blog

Presidential Elections & The Stock Market: Is There a Correlation?

Presidential Elections & The Stock Market: Is There a Correlation?

Harrison Fant, CFP®, AIF®
November 24, 2020

Lies, sex, and accusations of corruption – no election year is complete without them. And while the 2020 election has proven to be one of the most contentious in recent history, contention is nothing new in the world of politics. From the political match-up of Jefferson v. Adams to this year’s Biden v. Trump, mud has always been slung, accusations have always been made and many Americans have found themselves uncertain of a future under new leadership.

While Adams and Jefferson didn’t shy away from printed ads and public debates, there’s something vastly different about today’s political climate – 24/7 access to constituents. Social media, email blasts, phone calls, television ads, radio announcements – today’s candidates and their associated parties have the ability to inundate Americans with their messaging.

Pair this with the fact that 2020 has been anything but ordinary (which, of course, no one needs reminded of), and you have an election year truly like no other.

A Reminder About Emotionally Driven Investing

Whether you’ve been guilty of it yourself or you’ve seen others take part, social media channels like Twitter and Facebook make it all too easy to share damaging, misguided or opinionated messaging. This is true in any instance, but it can be especially effective when these posts are about political candidates.

The problem is, being inundated day in and day out with information about our country’s political future (especially information that’s alarming or scary) can take its toll on anyone watching or listening. Before Biden won the presidency, you surely heard the predictions – “If Biden wins, the stock market is sure to tank.” Or, “If Trump wins, the stock market is sure to tank.” People everywhere (whether they’re journalists or your Aunt Sally) made an argument for it either way.

As an investor, it’s important to make a conscious effort to drown out the noise, think about your personal financial goals and keep in regular contact with your investment advisor. He or she can offer the educated, unbiased advice you need to stay on track and unswayed when it comes to preparing your portfolio for any potential changes in political leadership.

Historical Stock Market Performance During Election Years

Of course, past performance is no guarantee or indicator of future performance. But as an investor, it may interest you to see how the stock market has performed historically during and after presidential elections years. Below we’ve charted out the S&P 500 returns since the 2000 election:1

Election Year  Presidential Candidates   Performance During Election Year   Performance For Following Year  
2000 Bush v. Gore -9.10% -11.89%
2004 Bush v. Kerry +10.88% +4.91%
2008 Obama v. McCain -37.0% +26.46%
2012 Obama v. Romney +16.0% +15.06%
2016 Trump v. Clinton +11.96% +21.83%

Additionally, below shows the S&P 500’s percentage of return during a president’s full term dating back to 1981. This information was gathered from YCharts and presented by Forbes:2

President   Years  S&P 500 Return 
Donald J. Trump (R) 2017- +43%
Barack H. Obama (D) 2009-2017 +182%
George W. Bush (R) 2001-2009 -40%
Bill J. Clinton (D) 1993-2001 +210%
George H.W. Bush (R) 1989-1993 +51%
Ronald W. Reagan (R) 1981-1989 +117%

Historically speaking, there have been a number of outside factors that determine the stock market’s performance – more so than simply which party is in power. These other factors could include whether or not we’re in a bull or bear market, the business cycle, civil unrest (at home and overseas), trade wars, tax policy changes and more.

If the upcoming inauguration has you worried about the future of your portfolio, take some time now to speak with your Atlanta Financial team. We may be able to provide important insights into whether or not your asset allocation should be readjusted and review any contingency plans you may have already put in place.

 

 

  1. https://ycharts.com/indicators/sp_500_total_return_annual
  2. https://www.forbes.com/sites/sergeiklebnikov/2020/07/23/historical-stock-market-returns-under-every-us-president/#2046fd9efaaf

 

 

This content is developed from sources believed to be providing accurate information, and provided by Twenty Over Ten. It may not be used for the purpose of avoiding any federal tax penalties. Please consult legal or tax professionals for specific information regarding your individual situation. The opinions expressed and material provided are for general information, and should not be considered a solicitation for the purchase or sale of any security.

 

 

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