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The U.S. Bull Market Turns 99 (Months Old)
by D.R. Barton, Jr.
Our current bull run in U.S. equities has turned 99 months old. Depending on how you count the last month or two, this has become the second longest bull market in the history of U.S. stock markets. I think the bull has room left to run and will show you why with a chart at the end of this article but first, let’s take a look at how this bull compares to others in length. There’s a graphic that has been making the rounds on sites like StockTwits that appeals to those with a downside bias. The person posting the table was fishing for comments about when this market will end in a crash with the request, “How much longer?” Here’s that table —
Some accounts have our bull a bit further down the pecking order as we’ll see next but either way, we can agree that this has been a long run by just about any measure. The next chart comes from a money management company (First Trust) that has a bias toward keeping people invested in the market. Even with that disclosure, it is still a pretty cool graphic:
You can see that the first table and the chart above disagree a bit on when bull and bear markets began or ended in the past. In general though, both agree that this bull has had a long run.

One Good Reason the Bull Run Is Not Done

In the February 15, 2017 Tharp’s Thoughts, I wrote an article with the splashy title Markets Don’t Plunge When This Happens. “This” referred to new all-time highs combined with improving breadth or broad market participation.

I keep my eye on a long term indicator, the “cumulative advance/decline line” because it gives me a big-picture look at what’s happening as the market pushes ahead. Essentially it answers the question, “Are lots of stocks pushing us up the hill or just a few?” Here’s that indicator chart from February updated through the end of May:
So yes, we have an aging bull market by almost any measure but we’re getting some indications that it’s not over yet. We could get a rollout of lower highs that could throw some water on the fire. Until we see breadth wane or a series of lower highs, however, it’s not time to look for this bull run to end just yet.

Your thoughts and comments are always welcome — please send them to drbarton “at”

Great Trading,
D. R.
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