U.S. economic growth has moderated from Q2’s 4.4% annualized pace to 2.6% in the final quarter of 2018 (U.S. BEA).
While quirks in the data gathering process may be impacting some reports, various economic releases suggest growth has continued to slow in Q1.
- Nonfarm payrolls grew by just 20,000 in February (U.S. BLS).
- But the jobless rate fell to 3.8% from 4.0%.
The bull market turned 10-years old on Saturday, March 9th. During the depth of the Great Recession, the S&P 500 Index touched a bottom of 676.53 on March 9, 2009 (St. Louis Federal Reserve). The Dow Jones Industrial Average bottomed the same day at 6,547.05. On Friday, the respective averages closed at 2,743.07 and 25,450.24 (MarketWatch).
Another way to view the decade’s progress: the total average annual return for the S&P 500 Index, including dividends reinvested, came to 17.5% per year. The same metric for the Dow has been 17.4% per year (through 3/7/19, S&P Dow Jones Indices).
The graphic below compares the current bull market with the five longest bull runs since WWII.
As we enter March, we are coming up on the 10-year anniversary of the bull market. In the depths of the Great Recession, the S&P 500 Index1 bottomed at 676.53 on March 9, 2009 (S&P DJ Indices).
The S&P 500 Index closed at 2,792.81 on March 4.
- The index is up 312% over the period.
- The annualized total return (includes reinvested dividends) is 17.7% (S&P DJ Indices).
The Q4 report on GDP (Gross Domestic Product—the widest measure of goods and services produced) was delayed by a month due to the government shutdown. On Thursday, the U.S. BEA reported the economy expanded at an annual pace of 2.6% in Q4, topping expectations of 2.2% per the Wall Street Journal.