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Biden long avoided touting stock market gains. Now he can’t resist.

President Joe Biden spent his first years in office trying to reverse a hallmark of the Trump era: bragging (and taking credit) every time the stock market hit a new milestone.

But new market highs in recent months and the possibility of election-year bait for Donald Trump proved simply too tempting to resist.

The latest example is the Dow Jones Industrial Average (^DJI) which closed above 40,000 for the first time last week.

The Dow hit the milestone on Thursday, then closed above it on Friday, prompting a flurry of commentary in Biden’s world. It closed just below 40,000 on Monday.

The marker was noted in campaign press releases on White House social media accounts and during the White House press briefing.

TOPSHOT - U.S. President Joe Biden gives a thumbs up during a welcome reception for leaders attending the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Leaders' Week at the Exploratorium, San Francisco, California, on July 15 November 2023. The APEC summit takes place until November 17.  (Photo by Brendan SMIALOWSKI / AFP) (Photo by BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP via Getty Images)TOPSHOT - U.S. President Joe Biden gives a thumbs up during a welcome reception for leaders attending the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Leaders' Week at the Exploratorium, San Francisco, California, on July 15 November 2023. The APEC summit takes place until November 17.  (Photo by Brendan SMIALOWSKI / AFP) (Photo by BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP via Getty Images)

President Joe Biden gives a thumbs up during a trip to San Francisco in 2023. (BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP via Getty Images) (BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI via Getty Images)

“Stock market records under President Biden are good for retirement accounts and household wealth and that’s just a fact,” White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre noted Thursday.

She shared her thoughts in response to a question and went on to say that stocks’ high levels were proof that Biden’s economic plan was working.

Stock market watchers and economists often point out that market movements in a given week or month often have little to do with who occupies the Oval Office. The recent rise, for example, is largely attributed to a slowdown in inflation across the economy.

Biden also has a long way to go to reach Trump’s stock expert levels. The former president seemed to comment on every stock market milestone throughout his 4 years in office.

Trump has also maintained a high velocity of commentary since leaving Washington, with his views changing dramatically depending on the ups and downs of the market. In recent years, Trump has sometimes taken credit for market rallies and also predicted crashes because of Biden.

But Biden is increasingly emulating Trumpian models with comments in recent weeks that could be used against him if — as markets sometimes do — things go down between now and November.

Touting market highs is a temptation for all presidents, but Biden marked it early on as one of countless ways he wanted to distance himself from Trump and operate differently in office.

“I don’t view the stock market as a way to judge the economy like my predecessor did,” he said during a speech in July 2021.

Biden made a not-so-subtle allusion to the strong stock market gains in those months, but also added “that’s not how I judge whether or not we have economic growth.”

The following January, when the market was even higher, Biden couldn’t resist a more direct comment.

“By the way, the stock market – the last man’s measure of everything – is about 20% higher than it was when my predecessor was there,” he said during a speech on employment on January 7, 2022. “He broke record after record after record under my watch.”

But it proved to be a worrying moment for Biden, as markets in January were poised for a turbulent year that saw the S&P 500 (GSPC) fall about 20%, according to data from Yahoo Finance.

Biden’s light-hearted boasting even came back to vex him and his aides.

“We know that families are concerned about inflation and the stock market,” Jean-Pierre acknowledged in June 2022 when pressed about his January comments.

Then, on September 13 of the same year, Biden held a celebration at the White House for his recently signed “Inflation Reduction Act”, but ran into a problem that day when an inflation figure surprise kicked off the worst day for the three major averages since June 2020.

Jean-Pierre was pressed again the next day, calling the actions “a simple measure of the evolution of the economy.”

Meanwhile, Trump spent much of 2022 comparing the economic downturn to the Great Depression and blaming the U.S. economy for collapsing.

Stocks, of course, regained their losses and finished 2023 in record territory.

They reached these new heights just as an election year rematch between Biden and Trump began to take shape.

It was an irresistible combination as Biden boasted about December’s market highs and resurfaced Trump’s comments predicting a crash.

Then, in recent weeks – as the Dow Jones broke the 40,000 barrier – the floodgates opened.

Last week was marked by a flood of releases. Posts appeared on platforms ranging from Elon Musk’s X to Meta’s Threads and Instagram. Biden even marked the moment on TikTok.

The messages celebrated the new highs and once again resurrected old video footage of Trump predicting a stock market crash under Biden.

“If he’s elected,” Trump said in 2020 while pointing to Biden, one of many similar examples, “the stock market is going to crash.”

This is a drumbeat from the Biden campaign that has also been notable for its volume. One campaign account even posted a series of videos from conservative media outlets like Fox and Newsmax reporting the good news for investors.

Trump himself might understandably resist the urge to intervene – and try to take credit.

He brought up the topic of markets in a recent speech to the National Rifle Association (NRA).

Trump claimed that a Wall Street insider named “Scott” — an apparent reference to former Soros Fund Management CIO Scott Bessent — told him that “the only reason the stock market is doing well is because Trump is leading in all the polls.

“He said it, but I said it too,” Trump told the crowd. “I believe him.”

DALLAS, TEXAS - MAY 18: Former U.S. President Donald Trump speaks at the NRA ILA Leadership Forum at the National Rifle Association (NRA) Annual Meeting and Expositions at the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center on May 18 May 2024 in Dallas, Texas.  The National Rifle Association's annual meeting and expo runs through Sunday.  (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)DALLAS, TEXAS - MAY 18: Former U.S. President Donald Trump speaks at the NRA ILA Leadership Forum at the National Rifle Association (NRA) Annual Meeting and Expositions at the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center on May 18 May 2024 in Dallas, Texas.  The National Rifle Association's annual meeting and expo runs through Sunday.  (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

Former President Donald Trump at the National Rifle Association (NRA) annual meeting May 18 in Dallas. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images) (Justin Sullivan via Getty Images)

Of course, it remains to be seen what direction the market will take in the coming months. Perhaps the only thing that is certain is that both candidates will likely have a say.

Ben Werschkul is Yahoo Finance’s Washington correspondent.

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News Source : finance.yahoo.com
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Sara Adm

Aimant les mots, Sara Smith a commencé à écrire dès son plus jeune âge. En tant qu'éditeur en chef de son journal scolaire, il met en valeur ses compétences en racontant des récits impactants. Smith a ensuite étudié le journalisme à l'université Columbia, où il est diplômé en tête de sa classe. Après avoir étudié au New York Times, Sara décroche un poste de journaliste de nouvelles. Depuis dix ans, il a couvert des événements majeurs tels que les élections présidentielles et les catastrophes naturelles. Il a été acclamé pour sa capacité à créer des récits captivants qui capturent l'expérience humaine.
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