It's official. This Saturday, March 9, 2019, marks the 10-year anniversary of what many call the longest bull market in history. It all started from the post-crisis low of March 9, 2009. The S&P 500's (SPX) closing price on that fateful day in early 2009 was precisely 676.53. As of the market close on Friday (3/8/2019), the S&P 500 settled at 2743.07. That represents around a 305% rise in a 10-year period. Not bad for a large-cap stock index.
The chart above displays some of the most salient market, economic, and political events that have helped to move the S&P 500 in one direction or another during this remarkable decade-long run.
Some of the Market Movers in the Past 10 Years
Some of the biggest and scariest drops have been attributed simply to surging investor fear. This includes the 2011 anxieties over the spread of the European sovereign debt crisis. It also includes the most recent market plummet in the fourth quarter of 2018. Much of this massive drop was caused by fears of a global economic slowdown, a U.S.-China trade war, and rising U.S. interest rates.
Other market drops were triggered by freakish circumstances, including the 2010 'flash crash' and the 'Volmageddon' volatility eruption in early 2018. Also of note on this chart, the UK's Brexit referendum in mid-2016 (in which a majority of the UK public voted to leave the EU) registered only as a relatively limited and short-lived blip in the U.S. markets. Finally, when the Federal Reserve began to raise interest rates in earnest around the end of 2016 into 2017, the stock market took it in stride and continued to rise sharply.
What May Happen Next?
The big question now, of course, is whether this 10-year rally will continue. While we've seen many bumps, both major and minor, on the road to where we are now, the stock market has managed to recover (at least eventually) each and every time. There will always be serious risk factors and fears that pervade markets. Late last year was a rather severe example of this. But we don't believe this bull market, though it's been exceptionally long, has run its course just yet.