The bull market that began one year ago is one of the weakest in U.S. history. After comparing the current bull market with all others since 1900, you could even argue that the rally beginning in October 2022 was just a bear market rally. Such an argument would be particularly compelling in light of the U.S. stock market’s recent losses, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average
declining in eight of its last 10 sessions.
The exact day on which the bull market began depends on which market average you use. Here I’m focusing on the Dow, since it extends back further than any other broad market index. Based on it, the bear market of 2022 bottomed out on Sep. 30, 2022 at 28,725.51. At the one-year anniversary of the rally that began then — at the end of September 2023 — the Dow was 16.6% higher. Based on the bull market calendar maintained by Ned Davis Research, no bull market since 1900 that lasted at least a year gained less than that over its first 12 months. The average first-year gain for all bull markets that lasted at least a year was 38.9% — more than double the current bull market’s one-year return. My focus only on bull markets lasting at least a year was on the generous assumption that the bull market which began on year ago is still alive. But it’s entirely possible that it came to an end on Aug. 1 of this year, at what so far is the Dow’s closing high for the rally. …