Bust out the noisemakers, confetti and cake, because the bull market in U.S. stocks is celebrating its nine-year anniversary this week. Yes, despite the recent volatility, stock prices have been rising persistently since 2009 and haven’t succumbed to a drop of more than 20% (though the market came pretty close in 2011).
Even in commemorating this celebration, many investors inevitably start wondering whether the current rally will extend to a tenth year. Let’s not get ahead of ourselves quite yet. After all, it’s been an incredible run in the stock market these past nine years, from the lows of the financial crisis to 2017’s seemingly endless string of record highs.
The bull market has given much to those who’ve invested money in it during these past nine years. Here are nine memories from that time:
1. Day 1 starts with a bang
On Wall Street, bear markets are periods of falling securities prices, while bull markets are upward trends. The start of the current bull market is pegged to the closing price for the Standard & Poor’s 500 index on March 9, 2009, a 12-year low. In the following day’s trading, the index soared 6.4%. A few weeks later, the S&P 500 had its largest single-day rally during this bull market run, jumping 7.1% when the Federal Reserve said it would finance purchases of distressed assets.
It’s been more than 3,200 days since the bull market began, and the S&P 500 has surged more than 300% in that time. Even so, this bull market still comes in second when compared with the longest-ever bull market in U.S. stocks, which lasted 3,452 days in the 1990s.
7.1%: The S&P 500’s largest single-day rally during this bull market run.
3. Three hundred thousand dollars
Want to invest alongside one of the most successful (and famous) investors in the world? Just cough up a cool $300,000 (and change) to buy a Class A share of Berkshire Hathaway, the company headed by Warren Buffett. The stock is the most expensive in the world, having soared from about $73,000 in 2009 to its current level. But take heart: The company offers a more affordable Class B stock that’s trading at about $200 a share.
4. A quadruple quest
From its 2009 lows to the most recent record high in January, the Dow Jones industrial average has quadrupled in the past nine years. Of course, it hasn’t always been a smooth ride from that 6,547 trough to late January’s 26,616 peak — and the market outlook calls for more volatility ahead.
5. Five free-falls
During the past nine years, investors have endured five corrections — when the S&P 500 fell at least 10% from prior highs. Losses from the most recent of these corrections, which hit that 10% threshold in early February, still haven’t been fully recouped. But as painful as these periods can be, they’re not as intense as bear markets, when the market goes into a sustained slide of 20% or more. (Concerned about a downturn? Learn all about what happens in a stock market crash.)
This bull market has endured five corrections (declines of at least 10% from a recent high).
6. Sixth time’s the charm?
The Federal Reserve is widely expected to raise interest rates for the sixth time since the financial crisis when the central bank convenes later this month. The worry that faster inflation will cause the Fed to increase the number of 2018 rate hikes beyond the three originally anticipated was one reason cited for recent market volatility.
7. Less than $7
It’ll be hard to find many things that have gone down in price in the past nine years, but stock-trading commissions are a notable exception. Investing in the stock market has never been cheaper, as all the major online brokers now offer commissions for less than $7 per trade (and even lower among the best discount brokers). Back when the bull market was in its early days, these fees were more like $13 per trade (and up).
8. Eking out only eight 1% moves
While 2017 may be remembered for how stocks shattered record after record, it was also a year of remarkable calm in the market. The S&P 500 moved more than 1% in either direction only eight times, far below the average of 53 per year going back to 1958.
Investing in the stock market has never been cheaper thanks to lower stock-trading commissions.
9. On cloud nine
Not once but twice during the current bull market cycle, the S&P 500 notched streaks lasting nine quarters — the most recent of which could extend to 10, if the market closes out March higher than where it finished 2017. Streaks of nine quarters (or more) have happened only four times in the history of the market.