The current US equity bull market turned nine years old on March 9, 2018. That’s the second longest run without a correction of 20% on record.1

It’s natural to wonder if the tide is going to turn. As Sir John Templeton famously said: “Bull markets are born on pessimism, grow on skepticism, mature on optimism, and die on euphoria.”

And, as many pundits have noted, bull markets don’t tend to die of old age. However, in light of heightened market volatility of late, many investors may now be wondering what could cause a sustained equity market downturn.

A Bull Is Born

One could certainly argue the current bull market was born on pessimism. As the chart below shows, it started on March 9, 2009, as the global financial crisis was coming to an end. From the depths of the crisis, the S&P 500 Index rose by more than 300% to an all-time high of more than 2,800 in January of this year.2

Not Without Blips, But the Bull Shrugged Off Corrections

In the past nine years, the current bull market has had some notable corrections, defined as a decline of 10% or more.3 It’s weathered the beginning and end of US quantitative easing, and crises in other parts of the world.