Bull and bear market durations

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The current bull market that started on March 9, 2009 has been running for 667 calendar days. Bespoke produced an interesting chart, highlighting the lengths of every bull (green) and bear (red) market of the S&P 500 Index going back to 1928. As shown, the average bull market (915 days) has historically lasted about three times as long as the average bear market (310 days).

“Prior to 1940, we saw a number of short market cycles, but since then they’ve lasted much longer. In fact, since 1940, the average bull market has lasted more than 1,600 days, which is about 2.5 times as long as the one we’re currently in,” said Bespoke.

Source: Bespoke Investment Group, January 3, 2011.

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2 comments to Bull and bear market durations

  • carel

    The length of bear and bull cycles depends to a large extend on the criteria used. Some study proved that there were only three bull cycles longer than 5 years (1 825 days)
    in South Africa since 1929. The average Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE) bull cycle being about 18 months and the average bear cycle about 12 months.

  • @Carel: Please keep in mind that the reported research refers to the U.S. Bespoke usually applies a 20% increase / decline as the measure of a bull / bear market. I’d like to see the study on the JSE.

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