According to BofA Merrill Lynch, we are in the midst of the second longest cyclical bull market ever. They say the cyclical bull market started on 09 March 2009, and has now comfortably surpassed the June 1949-August 1956 rally, only being beaten by the December 1987-March 2000 advance.
Others, however, say that the current bull market only really started in 2012, as there were two major corrections in 2010 and 2011 and considerable fluctuations in 2012. That period was more of a nightmare market for most investors and traders and seemed very far from a bull market. In their eyes, taking just the end points from the bottom of 2009 to the high of 2012 and claiming it was a bull market is a chart illusion.
Whichever version you believe, the key factor is that this does not feel like a bull market – and as the Daily Telegraph points out, it also feels dull and unloved. It points out that over the last 89 months, the Dow has risen by 185%. By comparison, in the 1920s the Dow rose by an impressive 500%. From 1932 to 1937, the Dow rose 400%, and from 1982 to 1987 the rise was 250%. So, measured by gains, it is certainly a more modest bull run. However, optimists would say that that being the fourth strongest on record in terms of percentage change, according to BofA Merrill Lynch, is still not to be sneezed at.
In the background meanwhile, Permabears ( those permanently bearish on both the economy and equity markets) keep talking it down. They expect a correction and indeed we saw one at the start of 2016, which witnessed the worst start to a year ever.
Against all this, as the Telegraph points out, stocks have comfortably been hitting new record highs and shareholders have been making more and more money every year. So whilst this is perceived as a dull and unloved bull market, long may it continue!
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