This is the longest bull market in history…or is it….

Today, the bull market turns 3,543 days old…maybe.

We tend to break up the market cycle into bull phases (rising markets) and bear phases (falling markets), which makes sense. However, the demarcation of each, a 20% rise or fall, is completely arbitrary. Why isn’t it 30%, or 21%, or 19%? Why does it have to be 20%? In any case, that’s the most widely used definition so that’s what we’ll use here as well.

However, there is another element that confuses the issue. Although yesterday the S&P 500 set a new all-time intra-day high of $2,873.23, the S&P 500 fell off towards the end of the day so that it still has not closed above the January 26th all-time closing high of $2,872.87 (closed at $2,862.96).

That means, based on closing price, we still do not have confirmation that this is the longest bull market in history as it’s possible January 26th remains the top for the bull market that began in March of 2009 and, therefore, the beginning of the bear market. Another market issue that can only be identified in hindsight. I guess we’ll find out soon enough.