Mon. 16 May 2022, 4:50pm ET Benzinga Government, Education, Politics, Markets, General

Let’s talk about the S&P 500.

Introduced in 1923, the Standard & Poor’s Composite Index, formerly known as the Composite Index, tracks the performance of 500 large companies listed on stock exchanges in the U.S. In 1926, it started with 90 stocks and grew to 500 by 1957.

The S&P 500, unlike the Dow Jones Industrial Average, calculates a weighted average of the stocks that make up the index, making it one of the best measures of significant U.S. stocks, if not the whole equities market.

Let's take a look at how the S&P 500 has performed since it expanded to 500 companies in 1957, sorted by the political party of the U.S. Presidents. 

S&P 500 Performance
President  Political Party    Term Length  S&P Return 
Dwight D. Eisenhower Republican    1953-1961 129%
John F. Kennedy Democrat    1961-1963 16%
Lyndon B. Johnson Democrat    1963-1969 46%
Richard M. Nixon Republican   1969-1974 -20%
Gerald R. Ford Republican    1974-1977 26%
James (Jimmy) E. Carter Democrat   1977-1981 28%
Ronald W. Reagan Republican    1981-1989 117%
George H. W. Bush (Sr.) Republican    1989-1993 51%
William (Bill) Clinton Democrat    1993-2001 210%
George W. Bush Republican    2001-2009 -40%
Barack H. Obama Democrat    2009-2017 182%
Donald J. Trump Republican    2017-2021 69%
Joseph R. Biden  Democrat    2021-  5%

See Also: How Trump's Stock Market Return Compares To Obama, Bush And Other Past Presidents


Democrats are the victor, delivering the highest returns to investors. The S&P 500 climbed 210% under Bill Clinton and 16% on the low side during John F. Kennedy’s short term as president.

The markets treated Republican President Dwight D. Eisenhower the best, showing returns of 129% during his term, and on the low side, -40% under George W. Bush during his eight-year term.

Presidential parties aside, investors may rest easy knowing that buying and holding is still the best long-term strategy. A $1,000 investment in the S&P 500 in 1957 would have grown to $608,169 in 2022, compounding at an annual total return of 10.31%.