The stock market’s jubilant response to Trump’s election was initially compared to the reaction to Ronald Reagan’s 1980 defeat of Jimmy Carter. Both Trump and Reagan campaigned on a platform that promised sweeping deregulation, a prospect that investors assume will help companies boost profits.
Reagan’s post-election rally fizzled within weeks, though, thanks to an aggressive series of interest-rate hikes in late 1980 aimed at snuffing out double-digit inflation. Between Election Day and the end of the year, short-term rates surged from 14 percent to just more than 20 percent.
Stock investors were ultimately rewarded by the Reagan administration, which followed through on its promises with major deregulation of industries such as telecommunications, among others. But those returns were sharply curtailed by the crash of 1987, which wiped out more than 25 percent of the market’s value in a week.
The biggest market rally for a change in administration followed the swearing-in of Lyndon Johnson after the assassination of President John F. Kennedy in November 1963, which sparked a sharp sell-off. Within weeks, the market had recovered and continued to move higher.
The Kennedy administration had gotten off to a strong start. In the first 100 days after the inauguration in January 1961, stocks jumped by 18.5 percent as the U.S. economy shook off the economic drag from a recession that ended a month after Kennedy took office.
President Barack Obama had the worst first 100 days of any postwar president, as the stock market and the economy were in the throes of the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression.
His predecessor, George W. Bush, also had a rocky start to his first term, after taking office in the middle of a major bear market sparked by the unwinding of the 2000s tech bubble.
That bubble helped Bill Clinton chalk up the best stock-market performance of the last 11 presidents. During his eight years in office, the S&P 500 index soared from 433 to 1,343, a gain of more than 200 percent.
Obama turned in the second-best stock-market performance, despite the financial crisis that was raging at the start of his presidency. The market lost another 15 percent during his first two months in office before bottoming out. As of Thursday, the S&P 500 was up 181 percent since he was first inaugurated in January 2009.
The financial crisis left his predecessor with the worst stock market record of the last 11 presidents. The second Bush administration was briefly in positive territory during the second term, but those gains were more than wiped out by the crisis of 2008.