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How Does the U.S. Stock Market Perform in Election Years?

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In just a few weeks time, the ballots will be in for one of the most controversial elections in U.S. history. Whether the tally ends in a Clinton or Trump presidency, it’s difficult to know the potential range of implications that the 2016 election will have on markets.

In the mean time, investors are wondering how to best position themselves. How could the election possibly affect their portfolio, and how can they hedge against tail risks?

Market Performance in Election Years

The good news for investors is that historically, the market has performed well in election years with the S&P 500 ending up in positive territory 82% of the time.

The bad news? This is clearly not a normal election.

The following infographic uses data from Fisher Investments to show how the S&P 500 historically performs during U.S. election years, as well as during the terms of specific presidents.

How Does the U.S. Stock Market Perform in Election Years?

The aggregate data is clear – here’s how the S&P 500 does in different years of the presidency:

Year of TermPositive ReturnsNegative Returns
157%43%
265%35%
391%9%
482%18%

Even though the election year (Year 4) has positive returns 82% of the time, things obviously get murkier when we look at the current situation.

Clinton and Trump are the two most disliked candidates in history, and third-party candidates such as Gary Johnson, Jill Stein, and Evan McMullin are polling relatively high in certain states.

Some see a Trump presidency as a guarantee for extremely volatile markets, while others see a Democrat landslide as also posing a huge market risk. Meanwhile, there are all kinds of weird hypothetical situations that could occur that would likely give traders migraines.

One of these tail risk events was highlighted by Nate Silver in early October. It involves Gary Johnson winning his home state of New Mexico (where he is polling at 24%) and at the same time neither Trump or Clinton getting enough votes to win the Electoral College. It’s unlikely, but still possible.

No matter how the results shake out, this election year will have long-lasting implications for all market participants, and it is likely that many lessons will be learned by traders.

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Markets

Visualizing Berkshire Hathaway’s Stock Portfolio (Q1 2024)

We visualized the latest data on Berkshire Hathaway’s portfolio to see what Warren Buffett is invested in.

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Visualizing Berkshire Hathaway’s Portfolio as of Q1 2024

This was originally posted on our Voronoi app. Download the app for free on iOS or Android and discover incredible data-driven charts from a variety of trusted sources.

Wondering what the Oracle of Omaha has his money invested in?

In this graphic, we illustrate Berkshire Hathaway’s portfolio holdings, as of Q1 2024. This data was released on May 15, 2024, and can be easily accessed via CNBC’s Berkshire Hathaway Portfolio Tracker.

The value of each position listed in this graphic is based on market prices as of May 23, 2024, and will change over time.

Furthermore, note that Berkshire has received SEC permission to temporarily withhold data on certain positions. This includes all of its Japanese stocks, which are reported as of June 12, 2023.

It’s (almost) all Apple

The data we used to create this graphic can be found in the following table. Positions worth less than $5 billion were included in “Other”.

Company% of PortfolioValue
(As of 05-23-2024)
🇺🇸 Apple Inc39.7$149.8B
🇺🇸 Bank of America10.7$40.6B
🇺🇸 American Express9.7$36.8B
🇺🇸 Coca-Cola6.7$25.2B
🇺🇸 Chevron5.3$20.0B
🇺🇸 Occidental Petroleum4.2$15.7B
🇺🇸 Kraft Heinz3.1$11.7B
🇺🇸 Moody’s2.7$10.2B
🇯🇵 Mitsubishi Corp2.1$7.8B
🇺🇸 Chubb1.9$7.1B
🇯🇵 Mitsui & Co1.7$6.4B
🇯🇵 Itochu Corporation1.5$5.5B
🇺🇸 DaVita1.3$5.0B
🌍 Other9.4$35.9B
Total100$377.9B

From this, we can see that Berkshire’s largest position is Apple, which makes up almost 40% of the portfolio and is worth nearly $150 billion.

While Warren Buffett once referred to Apple as the best business in the world, his firm actually trimmed its position by 13% in Q1 2024.

Even after that cut, Berkshire still maintains a 5.1% ownership stake in Apple.

Why Japanese Stocks?

While most of Berkshire’s major positions are in American companies, Japanese firms make up a significant chunk.

In 2020, Berkshire took positions in five Japanese trading houses: Itochu, Marubeni, Mitsubishi, Mitsui, and Sumitomo.

Also known as sōgō shōsha, which translates to “general trading company”, these firms are highly diversified across major industries.

According to an article from IMD, Buffett sees an attractive opportunity in Japan due to the country’s low-interest rates, among other things.

Learn More About Investing From Visual Capitalist

If you enjoyed this graphic, be sure to check out Visualizing the Growth of $100, by Asset Class (1970-2023).

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