President Obama has been taking heat from all sides lately on his handling of the economy, and the Democrats now appear to be in jeopardy of losing their majorities in both the House and Senate after the November elections. Instead of trying to defend their handling of the economy, maybe the Obama administration should be pushing the performance of the stock market since he took office in January 2009. Regardless of how or why it has done what it has done (we're not looking to get into a political debate here), the Dow has done well since Obama took office. Through last Friday (595 days since the close before Inauguration Day), the Dow was up 26.16%. Since 1900, Obama ranks fifth in terms of stock market performance at this point in the first term of a Presidency, handily beating the average Dow performance of 8.87% 595 days in.
The Dow was down 20.4% at this point in Obama's predecessor's first term, while it was up about 20% at this point in Clinton's first term. Ford, Coolidge, Harding, and FDR are the Presidents that rank ahead of Obama in this regards, with FDR way on top with a Dow gain of 76.26% from 3/4/1933 to 10/19/1934.
Again, we could all debate forever on why the market has done what it has done in recent years, but from a pure numbers standpoint, the stock market is up about 26% since Obama took office. If we all sent ourselves back to early 2009 and were asked if we would take +26% by September 2010, most of us would probably accept.