President Donald Trump has long touted market gains under his administration as an endorsement of his economic policies and, on multiple occasions, boasted about the Dow Jones Industrial Average’s gains under his tenure. That was before he was blindsided by an invisible microbe.
With the coronavirus spreading economic mayhem across the globe, the Dow’s 1,500-point 7% drop on Wednesday pushed the 30-stock index below the level where it closed on Jan. 19, 2017, the day before Trump took office. The sell-off is part of a historic market meltdown that has wiped out years of gains in a matter of weeks.
The blue-chip index is still more than 600 points, or 3.5%, above where it closed on Nov. 8, 2016, when Trump won his improbable election. His victory fanned a surge of investor optimism in anticipation of his business-friendly policies.
The Dow was last at 18,930, more than 750 points below its close of 19,732.40 a day before Trump’s inauguration.
Stocks have plunged since mid-February as efforts to contain the coronavirus fanned fears of a global recession. The S&P 500 was more than 25% below its February high by Tuesday’s close while the Dow was off its own record by more than 28%.
The White House did not immediately respond to CNBC’s request for comment. A price war between OPEC and its oil-producing allies has also whacked energy equities and crude.
The recent stock market decline may prove a tough blow to Trump, who has throughout his time in office used the Dow as a proxy for the success of his economic agenda.
Trump tweeted on Dec. 23, for example, that the Dow was up 55% since his election and promised — less than three months before stocks entered a bear market — that “the best is yet to come.”