- The biggest bull market was the tech boom bull market (2009-2020), returning 582% over 12 years and 4 months
- The current bull market, starting on the 12th of October 2022, has returned more than the tech boom bull market in its first 223 market days
- 3 out of the 5 biggest bull markets recorded happened between the years 1975 and 2000
11 September, 2023, LONDON – The S&P 500 is currently in a bull market that began on the 12th of October 2022 and has grown by 26% in its first 223 market days (September 1st). In contrast, the most successful bull market ever, the tech boom bull market, only saw returns of 24% during the same timeframe.
Comparing The 5 Biggest Bull Markets To The Current Bull Market
Personal finance website finder.com looked at the history of the S&P 500 to find the 5 biggest bull markets and see how they compare to the current bull market. This chart compares the length and size of the top 5 bull markets throughout history of the S&P 500.
The tech boom bull market returned a stunning 582% and lasted a total of 4494 days (12 years and 4 months), making it the biggest and longest bull market ever recorded. This period of sustained growth started in 1987 and ended dramatically with the dot-com bust.
The post-financial crisis recovery bull market was the second biggest bull market ever and returned 401%. This bull market came off the back of the second biggest crash between 2007 and 2009 and was part of the long and slow recovery. The period of growth lasted 3999 days (11 years) and came to a halt at the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic in early 2020.
During the post-World War II bull market, the S&P 500 grew 266% as a result of global recovery after the war. This positive period lasted 2607 days, (7 years and 1 month) and is the only bull market on this list that came after a war.
The Reaganomics bull market saw the S&P 500 increase by 229%. A rapid period of growth occurred due to stark neoliberal economic policy throughout the Reagan era. This bull market lasted 1839 days (5 years) and ended a few months before Black Monday in 1987, the worst day in the history of the stock market; on Black Monday the S&P 500 dropped by over 20% in a day.
The mid 1970s to early 1980s bull market came off the back of the oil shocks in the early 70s, and returned 125% by 1980. This period lasted 2247 days, (6 years and 2 months). Interestingly, the Reaganomics bull market was over a year shorter than the 1970s-1980s bull market, whilst returning almost double the amount of growth.
Commenting on the findings, deputy editor George Sweeney (DipFA) said:
“It’s pretty amazing to see that the current recovery of 26% after 223 days is outpacing the 24% return for the same timeframe at the start of the biggest historical S&P 500 bull market. However, investors shouldn’t get complacent. Although these recovery bull markets are an excellent opportunity to build wealth, they don’t last forever. On average, 1,102 days, just over 3 years.
As the adage goes, investors should make hay while the sun shines and try not to miss out on rebuilding market growth. Yet, they should also be prepared to buckle up for another crash (followed by a bear market) at some stage. How long we get between these moments of despair and joy fluctuates. So, investors must keep a cool head, be patient, and stay invested for the long haul.”
The list of the 5 biggest bull markets in the history of the S&P 500:
Tech boom bull market (1987-2000)
4th December 1987
24th March 2000
Post-financial crisis recovery bull market (2009-2020)
9th March 2009
19th February 2020
Post-World War II expansion bull market (1949-1956)
13th June 1949
2nd August 1956
Reaganomics bull market (1982-1987)
12th August 1982
25th August 1987
Mid 1970s to early 1980s bull market (1974-1981)
3rd October 1974
28th November 1980
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