Numbers don’t lie: Wall Street bull is the real deal

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Forget the doubters. The numbers don’t lie. This Wall Street bull’s got game.

The rising market for stocks, which turns 8 on March 9, might finally have silenced critics who questioned its staying power.

From a statistical perspective, this market’s no slouch. It has posted big enough returns to rank No. 4 all-time in terms of performance, with the mega-bull run from the 1990s taking top honors with a gain of 417%, according to S&P Dow Jones Indices. The current market can’t be faulted for a lack of endurance, either, as only one bull has lasted longer.

It has also generated more than $21 trillion in new stock market wealth.

The star stock of this bull run? Incyte (INCY), a biotech firm whose shares have gained more than all others in the Standard & Poor’s 500 stock index. The drug company is a Wall Street favorite for its dominant bone marrow treatment, Jakafi, and its loaded pipeline of potential drugs. The bull’s biggest dud? Southwestern Energy (SWN), a victim of a price crash in oil.

The best-performing group of companies the past eight years can thank U.S. shoppers. The consumer discretionary sector, which includes home improvement retailer Home Depot, coffee shop Starbucks and athletic apparel and sneaker giant Nike, has benefited from an improving economy and people’s willingness to buy things not deemed necessities. The energy sector was the biggest laggard, which is no surprise given plummeting earnings for hard-hit companies in that industry.

Adam Shell

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