Wall Street Oldie But Goodie
Comment of the Day

March 11 2016

Commentary by David Fuller

Wall Street Oldie But Goodie

David Fuller's view

If you conclude that Wall Street is still in its bull market, and S&P Capital IQ and WSJ.com, believe so, then it is the third longest bull market, presumably in modern history.  Of course many commentators disagree and it has certainly not felt like a bull market since at least mid-2015.  The Dow Jones industrial Average has fallen 21.69%, the Dow Jones Transport Average by 21.69%, the Russell 2000 fell 27.25% and the Nasdaq 100 Index just qualifies for the arbitrary 20% bear market with a decline of 20.01%.  However, the Nasdaq Composite Index has only fallen 19.54% while the S&P 500 Index is comparatively resilient having only lost 15.21% at its January and February lows. 

Well, apologies for sounding like a stats wonk, but to me what we have seen is more bearish than 2011 when the S&P fell just below 20% on an intraday basis, as I recall.  Moreover, this time iconic Apple and the previously sector-leading Nasdaq Biotechnology Index has fallen back from the sky.  

I maintain that Wall Street is unlikely to see much more than a cyclical bear market, which is mostly what we have seen so far, but it could last for at least a few more months.  I am assuming that the US economy will avoid recession, not least because of the consumer stimulus from cheap oil and gasoline.  However, if I am wrong on this and the US does experience a recession this year, that would certainly take the S&P 500 below 1800. 

Assuming we see only a cyclical bear market, what interests me most when looking at the table above is that the 1990 – March 2000 bull trend coincided with the end of the previous secular bull market.  However, June 1949 – August 1956 was the beginning of the earlier post WWII secular bull trend which eventually ended in the late 1960s.  October 1974 – November 1980 was similar to our current market cycle.  August 1982 – August 1987 was the beginning of the last secular bull trend.  October 2002 – October 2007 reminds me somewhat of the 1974 – 1980 period, but only in terms of them occurring between secular bull trends, and they were certainly not alike fundamentally.  

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