S&P 500's Bull Market Gets a New Title: Third Strongest Ever

  • This week’s record highs extend gains from 2009 to 269%
  • That surpasses the 266% rally during 1949-1956 bull market

Interest Rates Will Have to Give, Says Nuveen's Doll

The elevation in U.S. stocks this week added a new credential to the ongoing bull market: third strongest ever.

While the S&P 500 Index’s rally has stalled just shy of 2,500, it’s sitting a hefty 269 percent higher than its March 2009 nadir, surpassing the 266 percent advance notched during the 1949 to 1956 bull market, data compiled by S&P Dow Jones Indices and Bloomberg show.

While the magnitude of gains may stoke concern among investors who are already on watch for a protracted pullback, the advance appears less impressive when measured by annualized returns. In fact, this one has been the fourth weakest by that measure out of 13 cycles, with a gain of about 17 percent a year. 

The reason is duration -- at 8 1/2 years, the bull market is already the second longest ever, trailing only the 1990-2000 run during the dot-com era.

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