Welcome to what is poised to be—by most counts—the longest bull market on record in the United States.
For roughly 3,453 days the S&P 500 has been on a mostly steady upward trajectory. To many, these prolonged gains are unambiguously good news, particularly when combined with an economy that is strong and stable—which this one is. The market rally has resulted in gains of more than 300 percent and trillions of dollars for investors since the nadir of the Great Recession nine and a half years ago.
How did we get here? There are some who will undoubtedly thank the president. And it’s true that in the wake of the election, the markets enjoyed what was then dubbed the “Trump Bump” as many investors presumed that a corporation-friendly administration would help profits. But this rally started long before Donald Trump’s name was even seriously mentioned in the political arena.
The market started climbing in 2009, right after the country felt the worst losses of the recession. Part of the reason this market run has lasted so long is because the initial recovery from the recession was so slow and the losses were so significant. Those long, plodding years trying to recoup the losses of the Great Recession count toward this bull market, too. The current bull cycle was borne of prolonged quantitative easing, suppressed interest rates, and escalated stock buybacks, among other techniques used by the government and corporations to help markets recover.