10 Best Stock Traders In Congress In 2022 (Spoiler: Nancy Pelosi Isn't No. 1)

Zinger Key Points
  • A look at the most successful members of Congress who traded stock in 2022.
  • A new report breaks down the top trades and unusual activity during the trading year.
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A new report was out about the performance of members of the U.S. Congress who bought and sold stocks and options in 2022.

The report broke down unusual trading activity from members of Congress and also showed the members who beat the returns of the S&P 500.

Here are the highlights of the report.

What Happened: The year 2022 was the worst for the S&P 500, as tracked by the SPDR S&P 500 ETF Trust SPY, since 2008.

Despite the bad returns for the overall market, 26 members of Congress beat the S&P 500 with their 2022 return, according to a new detailed report from Unusual Whales.

In 2022, 131 members of Congress filed stock and options trading disclosures. This figure was down from 147 members in 2021. The report tracked $788 million in trades from more than 12,700 transactions. The number of transactions was similar to 2021, with around $189 million less traded in 2022 than the previous year.

The report found House Republicans had more than 1,000 fewer trades in 2022. House Democrats had over 1,000 more trades in 2022 compared to the previous year.

Democrats saw an average return of -1.76% and Republicans saw an average return of 0.4%, both beating the -18% return of the S&P 500 in 2022.

Over the past 10 years, about 10% of fund managers outperformed the S&P 500, according to SPIVA data, while in 2022, about 5% of total Congress outperformed.

When just comparing the Congressional members who traded — just 131 of the possible 535 — 26 beat the market. That equates to 20%, a much higher rate than professional money managers over time.

Here were the top 10 members of Congress by 2022 return, according to the report:
Rep. Patrick Fallon, (R-Texas):
+51.6%
Rep. Debbie Schultz, (D-Fla.): +50.8%
Rep. Susie Lee, (D-Nev.): +21.4%
Rep. David Joyce (R-Ohio): +13.6%
Sen. Gary Peters (D-Mich.): +11.7%
Rep. William Keating (D-Mass.): +9.6%
Rep. Lloyd Doggett (D-Texas): +8.9%
Rep Michael Guest (R-Miss.): +8.9%
Rep. Debbie Dingell (D-Mich.): +7.1%
Rep. Mark Green (R-Tenn.): +6.5%

Ranking just outside the top 10 was Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) in 12th place at a return of 6.2%. Greene was recently profiled by Benzinga for her losing position in Digital World Acquisition Corporation DWAC.
Rep. Dingell appeared on the list for a second straight year, ranking in 10th place by return in 2021.

Ranking outside of the top 10 and also failing to beat the market was former Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi. Well known for her stock trading disclosures between herself and her husband, Pelosi had a return of -19.8% in 2022 according to the report.

The report tracked trades and returns of transactions in 2022 and unrealized returns.

Related Link: Members Of Congress Buy Energy, Defense Stocks Prior To Russian Invasion Of Ukraine: Who They Are, What They Bought 

Why It’s Important: Along with highlighting the top trading members of Congress, the report also showed unusual trading activity and some of the most popular stocks bought and sold by members of Congress.

The most popular sectors for stock trades in 2022 were technology services, electronic technology, finance, consumer services and health technology for Democrats. Republicans had technology services, industry services, finance and electronic technology as their most popular sectors in 2022.

The report also illustrated unusual trading activity including members of committees trading within sectors they represent and members of Congress buying oil and defense stocks prior to the invasion of Ukraine by Russia.

Rep. Green, who ranked 10th on the list, bought several oil and gas stocks throughout the year, including $6 million worth the night before Russia invaded Ukraine.

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The report also focused on some of the most popular stocks for members of both houses of Congress. The most popular stocks that were bought in 2022 were:
Apple Inc AAPL
Alphabet Inc GOOGGOOGL
Walt Disney Co DIS
Tesla Inc TSLA
NVIDIA Corporation NVDA

The most popular stocks that were sold in 2022 were:
Visa Inc V
NVIDIA Corporation
Exxon Mobil XOM
Eli Lilly And Co LLY
Microsoft Corp MSFT

One trend highlighted in the report was fewer options trading in 2022. Pelosi had been known for many options purchases including ones in the money with long-term expiration dates.

Among the best trades of the year were two by Rep. Fallon with purchases of Twitter stock in January that saw gains of more than 40% after the transaction by Tesla CEO Elon Musk was completed.

The best trade of the year was a 140% gain by Rep. Josh Gottheimer (D-N.J.) from the sale of ChemoCentryx, which was acquired by Amgen, Inc. AMGN.

While the report centered on transactions made in 2022, it also took into account trades made in 2020 that were still being held as unrealized gains.

The five largest unrealized gains in the report are:
Rep. Tom Malinowski (D-N.J.): Apollo Endosurgery Inc APEN, up 497% since Oct. 2020
Rep. Tom Malinowski: Apollo Endosurgery, up 454% since Oct. 2020 (second transaction)
Rep. Dean Phillips (D-Minn.): Quanta Services Inc PWR, up 391% since April 2020
Rep. Ro Khanna (D-Calif.): ON Semiconductor Corp ON, up 351% since May 2020
Rep. Dean Phillips: Mosaic Co MOS, up 349% since April 2020

In 2022, only three members of Congress bought cryptocurrency or related funds in 2022, compared to eight members who bought in 2021.

The report from Unusual Whales came as there were increasing calls from the public and several members of Congress to ban the trading of stocks and options by members of Congress and their families.

What's Next: Could Nancy Pelosi And Husband Be Banned From Stock Trading?

Photo: VideoFlow via Shutterstock

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Posted In: GovernmentPoliticsSmall CapTop StoriesTrading IdeasGeneralCongressCongress tradingDavid JoyceDean PhillipsDebbie DingellDebbie SchultzGary PetersLloyd DoggettMarjorie Taylor GreeneMark GreenMichael GuestNancy PelosiPatrick FallonRo KhannaS&P 500Susie LeeTom MalinowskiUnusual WhalesWilliam Keating
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