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Thomas Bulkowski’s successful investment activities allowed him to retire at age 36. He is an internationally known author and trader with 30+ years of stock market experience and widely regarded as a leading expert on chart patterns. He may be reached at

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Bulkowski's Market Longevity

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Busted
Patterns
Candles Chart
Patterns
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Patterns
Small Patterns
Market
Industrials (^DJI):
Transports (^DJT):
Utilities (^DJU):
Nasdaq (^IXIC):
S&P500 (^GSPC):
As of 03/23/2017
20,657 -4.72 0.0%
8,936 -51.04 -0.6%
703 -1.87 -0.3%
5,818 -3.95 -0.1%
2,346 -2.49 -0.1%
YTD
4.5%
-1.2%
6.5%
8.1%
4.8%
Tom's Targets    Overview: 03/14/2017
21,250 or 20,600 by 04/15/2017
9,500 or 8,700 by 04/15/2017
675 or 715 by 04/01/2017
5,950 or 5,650 by 04/15/2017
2,425 or 2,325 by 04/15/2017
Mutt Losers: None YTD
Mutt Winners: None YTD

Written by and copyright © 2005-2017 by Thomas N. Bulkowski. All rights reserved. Disclaimer: You alone are responsible for your investment decisions. See Privacy/Disclaimer for more information.

This article discusses where the current bull market ranks with other bull markets in both duration and price movement. Last updated: 3/13/2015.

Market Longevity Methodology

How long does a typical bull market in the Dow industrials last? How far does price rise? To answer those questions, I told my computer to find every bull and bear market since late 1928 (when my data began).

I define a bull market as one in which price rises at least 20% as measured from low to high. A bear market is a drop of at least 20% from high to low.

I threw out all bull or bear markets shorter than three months. Why? To avoid flash crashes or similar behavior. There were some bounces that lasted a day or two but moved the market more than 20%.

Market Longevity Results

Bull/Bear Market Longevity
MetricResult
Bull Markets
Average length 3.0 years (1,091 days) 
Median length2.5 years (924 days)
Current* length6.0 years (2,097 days)
Average rise106%
Median rise74%
Current* rise177%
Bear Markets
Average length1 year (361 days)
Median length1.1 years (386 days)
Average decline35%
Median decline30%
* as of 3/13/2015

At the link is a spreadsheet that shows the results, not including dividends.

The current bull market began on March 6, 2009 and is longer than 91% of all bull markets as of 3/13/2015. That suggests the market is old, but it does not mean a bear market is imminent.

The above table shows the highlights from the spreadsheet.

The current bull market is 6 years long. That is longer than the average length (3 years) and it also beats the median length of 2.5 years.

The current bull market has climbed 177% during that time. This compares to an average bull market rise of 106% (a double) and a median rise of 74%.

The numbers suggest that for every step backward a stock takes (during a bear market), it takes three steps forward (an average drop of 35% versus an average rise of 106%, not including dividends.

That's good news for people that buy and hold.

-- Thomas Bulkowski

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Written by and copyright © 2005-2017 by Thomas N. Bulkowski. All rights reserved. Disclaimer: You alone are responsible for your investment decisions. See Privacy/Disclaimer for more information. Don't let people drive you crazy when you know it's in walking distance.