All The ‘Old Bull’ Bullshit | HNW’s Simple-Minded Millionaire

“For the most part becoming a millionaire means understanding the difference between “suspecting” and “knowing.” They’re not the same thing. What you know is what you know. And what you suspect is usually suspect.”

E L Emerson

How many times have I been told this bull market is old, really old, decrepit, weak, ready for slaughter and historically sits right behind pole position as the second longest bull market run in history.

And it’s all complete sensationalist bullshit.

I think it was Barry Ritholtz – the Boffin at The Big Picture – who pointed out far more eloquently than I could how we actually all missed the S&P 500 crash from May to October in 2011.


Crash, Boom, Rattle…

The Index fell 21.6% during that time (never mind the closing price versus intraday debate nonsense), over and above the somewhat arbitrary yet accepted 20% bear market barometer.

Boom! We crashed. And no one even heard the dishes rattling in the kitchen cupboards.

Oh, and during that same period the Russell 2000 Index fell 30.7 percent.

Now some might argue that the “real bull” never actually began until around February / March 2013 when prices recovered to their pre-2008/09 highs.

Here It Comes Again…

Sure, but The Irrelevant Investor (Michael Batnick, about who my greatest gripe is that he doesn’t write often enough) points out that from mid-2015 to early 2016 the peak-to-trough numbers showed:

  • Median S&P 500 stock down 25 percent (the index itself fell 15 percent)
  • Russell 2000 down 27 percent
  • Japan stocks down 29 percent
  • Emerging-market stocks down 40 percent
  • Chinese stocks down 49 percent

I “suspect” that a whole lot of you out there never really felt that one either.

So how old then is this “slowest of all possible bull markets”? 

String, Long, How…?

Well, it depends on your perspective.

If you consider the above mid-2015 to early 2016 period lows impacting indexes like the S&P 500, then it’s about a year and half.

If we go by more traditional measures – where we assess the start of the new bull at the point it rises above the previous secular market highs – then this bull market is about four and a half years old.

So, if bull markets last on average about 97 months each then I’d say this one’s still quite a young’un.

Don’t just nod along with the rest of the doggies in the window.

It’s better to know.

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