FACT CHECK: Did The Stock Market ‘Nearly Triple’ Under Obama?

David Sivak | Contributor

After Trump tweeted Tuesday about record highs set by the Dow, former senior advisor to President Barack Obama, David Axelrod, claimed that despite those highs, the stock market had “nearly tripled” under the Obama administration.

Verdict: True

Presidents are often measured by how well the stock market does. The markets rebounded substantially after the Great Recession, and the Standard & Poors 500 Index came within about 152 points of tripling.

Fact Check:

Since the 2016 presidential election in November, the Dow, a benchmark index of stock performance, has set 48 record-setting closing highs amid optimism that deregulation, tax reform and other priorities of the Trump administration would spur economic growth.

Stock market performance is one of many factors that serve as a barometer of economic health, and it’s one that has been touted often by Trump as an early success of his presidency.

Stock market performance often leads to comparisons between presidents. After Trump’s first 100 days in office, news outlets reported that the stock market had its second-best 100-day performance since President John F. Kennedy in 1961.

After Trump tweeted Tuesday about record highs set by the Dow, former Obama senior advisor David Axelrod claimed that despite those highs, the stock market had “nearly tripled” under the Obama administration.

When Obama assumed office, the U.S. economy was in financial turmoil. The Dow fell precipitously during the first months of his presidency, ultimately bottoming out in March 2009.

Once the stock market stabilized, it went on to experience the second-longest bull market in U.S. history, a trend that continues today. The Dow closed at about 7,949 on Inauguration Day in 2009, and about 19,732 on Obama’s last full day in office. This represents a 148 percent increase over eight years.

Although the Dow didn’t “nearly triple,” Axelrod may have been referring to the S&P 500, which is a common and arguably more representative benchmark of the stock market. The S&P 500 closed at about 805 on Inauguration Day in 2009, and about 2,264 on Obama’s last full day in office, an increase of 181 percent. If the index had climbed around another 152 points, it would have tripled, so Axelrod’s claim is correct.

During the last few months of his presidency, Obama may have benefited in part from the election of Trump. The S&P 500 grew nearly six percent from Election Day to Obama’s last full day in office. Nonetheless, Axelrod is right – during Obama’s time in office, the stock market “nearly tripled.”

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David Sivak



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