By Carleton English
Wall Street’s bull market is a single session away from the record books.
The near-decade rally in US stocks tied for the longest ever on Tuesday, with the Standard & Poor’s 500 index notching an all-time high on a mix of strong quarterly earnings and hints that trade tensions with China are cooling.
In midday trades, the S&P 500 hit an intraday high of 2873.23, briefly surpassing the previous all-time high of 2,872.87 set in late January before retreating to close at 2,862.96.
With Tuesday’s gains, the market logged a 3,452-day winning streak, leaving the S&P index 323 percent higher since it began its steady rise from the ruins of the financial crisis.
That matches the length in days of the previous, record-holding rally that raged from October 1990 to March 2000, which had lofted stocks by more than 400 percent.
“This bull market has been breathtaking,” Kristina Hooper, chief global market strategist at Invesco, said in a note Tuesday, referring to the rally that began March 9, 2009, when the S&P hit its low of 666.
Failing a 20-percent drop before Wednesday’s close, this bull market will beat the ’90s run to become the longest ever at 3,453 days.
And many analysts say the market still has room to grow, as ebullience over the chugging US economy overcomes worries about trade and political unrest here and abroad.
“I believe US stocks are likely to continue to outperform in the shorter term given the strength of the US economy and the perceived safety of US stocks in the midst of trade wars,” Hooper said.
“I think we can still run but I’m cautiously optimistic,” Peter Cardillo, chief market economist at Spartan Capital Securities, told The Post, adding that he is still concerned about the trade war.
On the plus side, this rally has persisted “for the right reasons,” Cardillo said, referring to the strong economy, low inflation and “most important, corporate earnings have exploded.”
And some on Wall Street say that the benefits of tax reform have not been fully priced into this rally.
Tax reform and fiscal policy are “not just a sugar high,” Ryan Detrick, senior market strategist at LPL Financial, told The Post.
“It is very likely equities will continue to go up for the next year or two,” he added.
But for all the exuberance surrounding this rally, some on Wall Street say that the market has to rally for three more years — until 2021 — to earn the true distinction.
The naysayers say that the last bull market actually started in 1987 — not 1990.
A bull market starts when the market climbs 20 percent from a previous low and it ends when the market falls 20 percent from a high.
Between July and October of 1990, the market fell 19.9 percent — certainly flirting with bear territory but not quite closing the deal, analysts at Bespoke Investment Group said in a note last week.