The S&P 500 is marching towards the longest bull market in its history in style, notching up an all-time high ahead of another record tumbling today.
The US blue-chip index touched 2,873 points, a new record, during yesterday’s trading, although it closed below that level.
That all but guarantees the index will today break the record for the longest-ever bull market in its history.
Provided the S&P 500 doesn’t suffer a 564-point, or 19.7%, fall today, the US bull market run which began in the aftermath of the financial crisis will be 3,453 days old.
That will break the previous record, set at the end of the last century, when the S&P 500’s bull market lasted from October 1990 until the bursting of the tech bubble in 2000.
‘If someone had said in March 2009 that we were setting out on the longest bull market investors have ever seen, they would have been laughed out of court,’ said Tom Stevenson, investment director at Fidelity International.
‘In the aftermath of the financial crisis triggered by the collapse of Lehman Brothers 10 years ago next month, investor sentiment was at its lowest ebb.’
The marking of the milestone will lead some investors to question whether this record-breaking bull market could be drawing to a close.
But Stevenson said the ‘euphoria’ that typically accompanies the final stages of a bull market was ‘notoriously absent’.
‘This most unloved of all bull markets has left sentiment relatively subdued,’ he said.
‘With earnings having been boosted by tax cuts, valuations are high but not excessively so.’
Laith Khalaf, senior analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown, agreed, although he added that the valuation of US stocks, which are more expensive than shares on the UK stock market, ‘does give some pause for thought’.
He cited the widely used Shiller price earnings ratio, which charts the current price of the market compared to its inflation-adjusted earnings over the last 10 years.
‘In the US, the market valuation has only been at this level in 1929 and in the late 1990s, shortly before the Wall Street crash and the tech bust respectively.’
The long bull run in the US isn’t matched by the UK stock market, as the FTSE 100 fell into a bear market, defined as a loss of 20% from its peak, in early 2016.