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Biden Applies His Bragging Rights to the Stock Market

Froma Harrop on

"Biden's Stock Market Returns Continue to Trounce Trump's" reads a recent Forbes headline. Sophisticated investors know this, but most of the public may not because Democrats have this self-defeating aversion to boasting about bull markets during their watch.

That seems to have changed under President Joe Biden.

Recall how former President Donald Trump tied every record high to his alleged brilliance as an economic manager. "The Dow Jones Industrial just closed above 29,000!" he tweeted about six weeks before the 2020 election. "You are so lucky to have me as your president. With Joe Hiden' it would crash."

Not quite. Ten months after Biden was declared winner, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was over 34,500. As for the broad-based S&P 500, that stock index has closed at at least 40 all-time highs since Biden has been president.

Happily for Democrats, Biden has claimed his bragging rights. Even better, he's trolling Trump with Trump-like swagger. "The stock market is surging," Biden crowed in a speech honoring labor unions. "It's gone up higher under me than anybody."

Actually, presidents don't have nearly as much control over the stock market as they may claim. New technology influences economic developments, as do black swan events, such as the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. Then, there was COVID-19.

 

That said, stocks have certainly done better so far under Biden than under the previous guy. From the last election to late August, all three major indexes -- the Dow, S&P 500 and the NASDAQ -- had produced higher percentage gains under Biden than in the same period under Trump, according to Forbes.

Stocks did great under President Barack Obama, too, but you heard nary a peep from him about the Dow. And until recently, Biden didn't talk about it either.

Democrats had reasons, not all good ones, for their reticence. In downplaying gains in stock market wealth, they often note that ownership of shares is heavily weighted toward the richest Americans.

That is true. About 92% of stock owned by Americans reside in the top 10% of households. We're including stakes in 401(k)s and other retirement plans, and mutual funds.

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