One-Year-Old Bull Rally Suggests More Upside Ahead

One-Year-Old Bull Rally Suggests More Upside Ahead

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  • The bull market in stocks turned one year old on Thursday, and a lot has happened in that time.
  • The S&P 500 is up 22% over the past year, making it one of the weakest first years of a new bull market ever.
  • Here’s what market history suggests could happen next, according to Carson Group’s Ryan Detrick.

The bull market in the S&P 500 officially turned one-year old today. 

The S&P 500 was down nearly 26% from its highs on October 12, 2022, marking the conclusion of a painful year-long bear market as investors worried about everything from high inflation to a potential recession.

Fast forward a year and the S&P 500 is up about 22% from its bear market closing low, thanks to a resilient economy delaying any potential recession, and inflation consistently falling towards the Federal Reserve’s long-term target of 2%.

But while that may sound strong, Carson Group chief market strategist Ryan Detrick observed in a Thursday note that it’s actually weak compared to historical market data.

“The average first year [of bull market performance] has seen stocks gain nearly 39%,” Detrick said, adding that this is the worst first year of a new bull market since 1987, when stocks gained 21% in their first year.

But this first year of relatively weak performance for the current bull market in stocks could work in its favor for more gains ahead, according to the note.

“If we can avoid a recession next year, then there’s a good chance for more solid gains in 2024,” Detrick said.

Pointing to the bull market that started in late 1987, he said the second year was the strongest on record, with the S&P 500 rising 29%. The average S&P 500 performance during the second year of a bull market is 13.5%. 

“Could we see another outsized gain after modest gains this first year? We wouldn’t want to bet against it,” Detrick said.

One potential seasonal tailwind for stocks next year is that it’s an election year, or the fourth year of the presidential cycle. Stocks have historically gained an average of 7.3% during election years. And the gains are even stronger during the election year of a first-term president, which is the case for Joe Biden in 2024.

“What you need to know about an election year is the returns are much better when there’s a first-term President in office, up 12.2% on average and higher 10 out of 10 times since 1950,” Detrick explained.

A gain of about 12% from current levels would catapult the S&P 500 to new record highs at 4,880. 

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