Wall Street this week celebrated the arrival of a bronze-cast defiant girl staring down its iconic charging bull statue, installed in honor of International Women’s Day. But the proverbial bull is also celebrating a milestone of its own: The bull market in U.S. stocks turns eight years old on Thursday, March 9.
8: A Milestone Birthday for the Bull Market
The current bull market, defined by prices that continue rising without being interrupted by the 20% decline that would signify a bear market, began for the S&P 500 began exactly eight years ago, in the depths of the recession in 2009. Since then, the benchmark index has gained 249%, with just four official corrections—defined as a decline of 10% or more—the last of which happened in the beginning of 2016, according to Yardeni Research.
And while signs of a stock market bubble have abounded recently, from the Trump Bump rally sending the Dow Jones industrial average to new highs, to Snapchat’s mega IPO last week in which even Uber drivers were snapping up Snap (SNAP, +0.75%) stock, the current bull market is not particularly remarkable. As bull markets go, this one is not yet the longest, nor the best in terms of performance, nor even the most expensive.
So, to paraphrase the Broadway musical “Rent,” how do you measure a bull market?
At 96 months old, this bull market is not the oldest in modern history (post-World War II): That title goes to the bull market that lasted from the fall of 1990 to the early spring of 2000, or 113 months, according to CFRA and S&P Global, before spectacularly flaming out in what has since become known as the dot-com bust. That record dot-com bull market, which is also the best-performing, with a 417% gain, lasted just more than a year longer than the current bull market’s age. No bull market has ever made it to its 10th birthday.
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