It has been an awfully strange bull market since the equity lows following the credit crisis meltdown. Technically it has been the greatest bull market of all-time since the low was reached in March 2009 (see chart). But the last five years haven’t been filled with the type of euphoria one would expect with such a move.
While there are always perma-bulls and those touting end of world market scenarios, there is a definite unease in some circles about our current market.
Perhaps it is the addition of the CBOE Volatility Index (VIX). There is something strange about a period with so much uncertainty and dysfunctional politics and a market measure dubbed the “fear index” being near record lows. I understand there are reasons (see Fed) the market has climbed the so-called wall of worry but there appears plenty of fear out there.
Case in point is an interesting analysis by Andrew Wilkinson that on first glance supports the notion that we are on a precipice.
Wilkinson put together a chart—that many others have referenced -- comparing the recent move in the S&P 500 to the two-year period just before the 1929 market crash (see chart below).
Wilkinson, however, is quite a thorough analyst and decided to dig a little deeper.
“It is true that the two time series carry remarkable similarity,” Wilkinson noted, but then decided to normalize the two moves and came up with a different picture. By normalizing the move to the respective start dates he found that the stock market ran up 81% in the two years prior to the crash of 1929 and the relative position for today’s rally is only 27% higher (see chart below).
He noted that if the S&Ps mirrors that 81% move of the 1920s, it would take the S&P 500 index to 2,537, concluding in the famous words of Bill & Ted, “party on dude.”
But of course everyone needs to remember the more relevant phrase: “Past performance is not necessarily indicative of futures results.”