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On the bull market's ninth birthday, here's how it stacks up against history

  • The Dow has quadrupled during the bull market, which turned 9 on Friday.
  • This is the biggest and longest bull market for the Dow post-WWII, according to Leuthold Group.
Ronaldo Schemidt | AFP | Getty Images

The bullish run in the Dow Jones industrial average — which celebrates its ninth birthday Friday — is the longest ever and the greatest percentage gain since World War II, according to Leuthold Group.

The corresponding run by the S&P 500, notes LPL Financial, is that benchmark's second-largest and second-longest bull market ever, with only the 1990s stock market run led by technology stocks in the way.

Despite a more than 10 percent correction in equities last month following a burst of bullish activity, Leuthold's Doug Ramsey doesn't think the bull is done yet.

"Assuming the Dow Jones industrial average can exceed its late-January high on March 9th or thereafter, this cyclical bull market will become the first one ever to last nine years," said Ramsey, his firm's chief investment officer. "Historically, cycle momentum highs are usually followed by a push to even higher price highs over the next several months."

The Dow hit an all-time high of 26,616.71 on Jan. 26, the same day the S&P 500 clinched its own record of 2,872.87. The major indexes are off their record highs 6.4 percent and 4.6 percent respectively.

This chart from Leuthold Group shows where the Dow bull market stacks up since 1900. It's far and away the longest in modern financial times. In terms of percentage gains, it's third behind two bull markets pre-WWII.

Source: Leuthold Group

LPL chief investment strategist John Lynch, who measured the S&P 500, says the index is in the middle of its second-longest and second-greatest run ever.

Source: John Lynch, LPL Financial

The S&P 500 posted a 418 percent gain from October 1990 through March 2000, well ahead of its current 302 percent climb as of Jan. 26 as technology stocks boosted the index more so than the Dow.