Donald Trump’s First 100 Days: Stock Market’s Best-Ever Expansionary Rally

There’s no question: President Donald Trump’s first 100 days have been quite good for the stock market.

They may have even been the best ever. No modern president taking office in an expanding economy has seen stocks rise by as much in his first 100 days in office as they did during Trump’s. And not since the first days of John F. Kennedy’s presidency has a president’s first 100 days been as calm and orderly as the Trump rally.

The S&P 500 is up 5.3 percent since inauguration day on January 20, 2017. That beats the market’s performance during the first 100 days of Presidents Truman, Johnson, Nixon, Clinton, Reagan, Carter, Eisenhower, and George W. Bush, according to the research firm CFRA Research.

Only presidents who took office amid or immediately following a recession can claim to have overseen stronger rally in stocks. The S&P 500 rose 8.4 percent President Barack Obama’s first 100 days, but this was a rally off of a huge market crash. Similarly, the 8.4 percent rally of George H.W. Bush and the 8.7 percent rally of John Kennedy came as the economy was emerging from a recession. The all-time greatest rally came following the Great Depression, when stocks rose 86.5 percent in Franklin Roosevelt’s first 100 days.

The fact that the Trump rally took place outside of the context of an expansion could be the reason this has been one of the calmest first 100 days despite the rally. According to Nick Wells and Mark Fahey of CNBC, the S&P posted a daily move of more than one point only three times during Trump’s first hundred days. That’s an extremely low level of volatility and very different from the kinds of jumpy markets that accompanied the rallies of the first Bush or Obama.

On a risk-adjusted basis, then, the Trump rally has been the strongest first 100 days ever.

Measured from Election Day, the Trump rally is the second-best since Kennedy took office. The S&P 500 is up 11.8 percent since November 8. It rose 12.3 percent between the election and George H.W. Bush’s Day 100, according to CFRA Research. The market rose 18.3 percent in the period between Kennedy’s election and his Day 100.

The best performing sector since Trump took office has been technology. The tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite is up 9.16 percent since January 20. Shares of Facebook rose by 17.8 percent, Google by 12.93 percent, and Amazon by 14.33 percent.

Bank stocks did well in the weeks following the election but have lagged the market in recent months. Even still, the KBW Index of big bank stocks is up by nearly 20 percent since Election Day.

The Trump Rally is made all the more extraordinary because, just like his electoral victory, it defied many experts’ expectations. Prior to election day, the consensus on Wall Street and among economists was that the market was likely to crash if Trump were to win. This seemed like a safe forecast because many of the prognosticators believed it would never be tested because they did not believe Trump could win the election.

Even after markets rallied in the days following the election, many market watchers continued to predict that it would slump once Trump took office. Some said the market would fizzle shortly after the inauguration, others said it would fade once the post-inauguration faded, and still others were predicting just a few weeks ago that the market was “overdue” for a “pullback.”

Yet somehow the market keeps rising as the Trump presidency marches on.


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