Trump's numbers don't add up.

By Lucinda Shen
July 6, 2017

President Donald Trump has voiced pride over the stock market gains in the United States, but his math for those gains is quite a bit off.

In a speech he gave to the Three Seas Initiative in Warsaw, Poland—a group of countries committed to improving economic ties between the United States and ex-Communist countries—Trump pointed to the stock market when explaining that the U.S. is doing “very well—very strong.” He said: “We’ve taken off restrictions and people are really moving hard. So when I say that the stock market is at an all-time high, we’ve picked up in market value almost $4 trillion since November 8th, which was the election. $4 trillion—it’s a lot of money.”

While the stock market has hit multiple new highs since November, thanks in part to a “Trump Bump” stemming from the president’s promise to lower corporate taxes and roll back regulations, it’s not as high as Trump may think. His speech suggests the market value for the S&P 500 is now about $22.4 trillion, up roughly 22% since the elections. But in reality, the S&P 500 has gained roughly $2.4 trillion in that time period, an increase of 13% in market cap to reach $20.8 trillion, said Howard Silverblatt, a veteran market watcher over at S&P Dow Jones Indices.

It’s not a poor performance, but it is certainly less than the president’s $4 trillion figure.

It could be that Trump rounded up the market value for the S&P 500 by about $1.6 trillion—roughly the value of two Apple companies.

Or perhaps he was referring to another stock market index entirely. The S&P 500 is one of the many indexes that measure stock markets, and it only looks at U.S.-traded stocks.

For example, the S&P Developed Markets BMI looks at developed markets, including those in the U.K., France, and Germany—which were actually effected to an extent by Trump’s election. Global markets rallied over Trump’s pro-business stance after his election victory. They also retreated after news of former FBI Director James Comey’s memo.

But according to Silverblatt’s data, developed markets have gained $5.2 trillion since Trump won. That means if Trump did consider both U.S. and the gains of other developed markets, he actually rounded down by about $1 trillion.

Even when looking at other indexes measuring stock markets—the Russell 2000, the S&P United States BMI, the Non-U.S. BMI, and the S&P Emerging BMI—they are each still at least $1 trillion off. The source of Trump $4 trillion figure, then, remains unclear.

What we do know is that the figure is consistent with earlier claims Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross made on CNBC.

“That’s the whole package that President Trump was elected on, and it’s the whole package that’s driven the stock market to $4 trillion of gains since the election,” he said, referencing the president’s position on taxes, regulation, and businesses. When Ross made the comment, markets were in fact lower than they were on Wednesday.

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