The Life Cycle of Bull Markets

Bull markets are born on pessimism, grow on skepticism, mature on optimism, and die on euphoria.
— Sir John Templeton

I first heard these words of wisdom from the legendary investor Sir John Templeton early on in my career.  They have held true through many market cycles.  We find ourselves in a bull market that began in March of 2009, and since the lows in the Dow Jones Industrial Average of around 6500 at that point, we have enjoyed a stock market that has outlasted most bull markets in terms of length, and certainly in terms of percentage gains.


Do I get a sense that investors are in a state of euphoria?  No, not really; certainly not like the dot-com bubble of the early 2000s.  At that time, I heard things like "this time it's different" and "we're in a new economy"--phrases certainly indicative of an optimistic mindset to say the least.  When I had widows coming in to my office and wanting to cash in CDs because they felt they were missing out on the action, I had a feeling we may be in trouble.


I say all this to simply say we've had a tremendous run-up in the stock market, and if part of your allocation is in stocks, it is probably a good idea to contact your advisor to assess your risk tolerance.  We all tend to forget the tough times when the tough times have been so far in the distant past.