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Which Party in Congress Topped the S&P in 2023?

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Many members of Congress who trade securities significantly beat the market in 2023, with 33% outperforming an S&P 500-tracking exchange-traded fund, according to data and watchdog organization Unusual Whales.

Democrats’ portfolios beat Republicans’ holdings by a “massive margin,” according to the group, which examined portfolio performance for 100 U.S. lawmakers who trade stocks and other securities.

Members once again traded options in 2023 after refraining the year prior, according to Unusual Whales, a stock and options data service that says it focuses on market transparency and unusual trades.

“Like every year since 2020, U.S. politicians beat the market. And many in Congress made unusually timed trades resulting in huge gains,” the Unusual Whales account on X, formerly Twitter, posted Tuesday.

Democrats were up an average 31% and Republicans 18%, while the S&P 500-tracking ETF was up nearly 25%, the service reported.

“Many traded despite conflicts in their committees in record numbers,” the Unusual Whales account tweeted.

“Congress has continued to trade despite conflicts and potential bans proposed,” the service said in its report. “Congress traded thousands of times in a year plagued by high interest rates, war, conflicts, and did well doing so.”

The service said it compared members’ portfolio returns to the SPDR S&P 500 ETF Trust (SPY), calculating lawmakers’ results by estimating returns on current stocks in each lawmaker’s holdings, based on the officials’ required financial disclosures.

These disclosures “are a key tool for promoting ethical conduct in Congress and are an important part of efforts to promote integrity and transparency in the legislative process,” the organization said.

Some data for 2023 may not have been filed yet, Unusual Whales noted.

The five top-performing portfolios on the list, according to the report, belonged to Rep. Brian Higgins, D-NY, whose portfolio returned an estimated 238.9%, followed by Republican Reps. Mark Green of Tennessee, Louisianan Garret Graves and David Rouzer of North Carolina, up 122.2%, 107.6% and 105.6%, respectively, and Massachusetts Democrat Seth Moulton, up 80%.

Former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, a California Democrat, had the ninth best-performing portfolio, up an estimated 65.5%, the organization reported.

In early 2023, the service collaborated with Subversive ETFs to launch two ETFs that invest in equity securities purchased or sold by Democratic or Republican members of Congress and their spouses: the NANC: Unusual Whales Subversive Democratic Trading ETF and KRUZ: Unusual Whales Subversive Republican Trading ETF.

Since their launch ​​on Feb. 7, the SPY ETF is up 12.85% while NANC is up 19.87% and KRUZ is up only 9.38%, according to Unusual Whales, which provides the data for the Subversive-managed funds.

The service said it worked on the ETFs with the hope of getting trading by members of Congress banned.

Image: Shutterstock


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