Wall Street Experts Give President Trump a “B” or “B-minus” for Market Performance in First 100 Days

Using the market as a measure of success, President Trump has something to boast about: The 5.5% gain for stocks during his first 100 days in office is third-best of any president since World War II.

Saturday marks Trump’s 100th day in the White House. The return of the Standard & Poor’s 500 stock index under Trump since Inauguration Day is better than the past three U.S. presidents, better than Barack Obama in 2009, George W. Bush in 2001 and Bill Clinton in 1993, according to data compiled by financial research firm CFRA. The 9% jump in the early days of John F. Kennedy’s presidency in 1961 ranks No. 1.

Despite the good reception in markets, Wall Street pros have been frustrated with Trump’s inability to follow through as quickly as promised on getting laws passed that are perceived as good for the U.S. economy. Trump’s failure in late March to repeal and replace Obamacare, for example, raised questions about his ability to work with Congress and get legislation enacted. The gridlock in Washington also pushed back the timetable on other parts of his agenda more focused on boosting growth, such as tax reform and spending on infrastructure, which investors hoped would be at the top of Trump’s to-do-list.

Those concerns are a big reason why the “Trump Rally” has lost some of its momentum, and why Wall Street pros interviewed by USA TODAY mostly gave the president grades of “B” or “B-” for the job he’s done so far.

Stock market gains were very strong after Election Day when investor enthusiasm over Trump’s growth-friendly policies was highest. But returns slowed after he took office, especially for stocks in sectors of the economy that were seen as benefiting most from the president’s call to slash taxes, roll back regulations and spend $1 trillion to upgrade the nation’s roads and bridges over a decade. The S&P 500’s financial sector, for example is up nearly 19% since Election Day, but less than 3% since Trump took office, according to S&P Dow Jones Indices. Similarly, stocks in the industrial sector, which include makers of heavy machinery, have also seen their gains shrink.

Wall Street lauds Trump for reaching out to business leaders. The president has worked to enhance his pro-business image, meeting regularly with many of the nation’s top CEOs from leading industries, such as tech, autos and steel.

Much of the stock market’s success under Trump, however, has been built largely on hopes of him succeeding in getting at least some of his growth-friendly promises passed, market pros say.

While the hope remains, doubts are creeping in.

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SOURCE: Adam Shell
USA TODAY