NEWS

Bull market still running 6 years after stocks hit 2009 low

03/09/2015 02:45 EDT | Updated 05/09/2015 05:59 EDT
U.S. indexes moved sharply higher Monday on the sixth anniversary of hitting bottom on March 9, 2009 in the wake of the 2008 financial collapse.

But Toronto stocks fell on lacklustre commodity prices and the Canadian dollar remained stuck below 80 cents US.

The S&P/TSX composite index declined 56 points to 14,897 on continued worries about the outlook for energy stocks.

The Canadian dollar edged off its low of 79.22 and was trading at 79.38 US at mid-afternoon.

On March 9, 2009, the TSX bottomed out at 7,567 points and it has since risen by 97 per cent.

On Monday, the Dow was up 169 points, after a steep selloff caused by an optimistic jobs report Friday. The Dow was at 18,025 by mid-afternoon approaching its record.

The Standard & Poor's 500 index has more than tripled since bottoming out at 676.53  On Monday, the S&P 500 was up 10 at 2081 and the Nasdaq up 22 at 4949, buoyed by the Apple watch announcements.

Can the bull last?

The six-year bull market has spooked many analysts, who say it cannot continue its rise.

Many attribute the rising market to low interest rates that boost liquidity for investors and say it could halt its course when the Federal Reserve moves to raise rates. That’s why good news about the U.S. economy, such as the jobs report, ends up hurting stocks.

But others point to a still emerging recovery of the U.S. economy, along with record corporate profits and a more confident consumer.

"Bull markets end not because they grow old. They end because some excesses build," says Stephen Freedman, head of cross-asset strategy at UBS Wealth Management.

The European Central Bank started its 60 billion euro ($81 billion Cdn) per month bond-buying program on Monday, raising hopes that Europe will pull its economies around and boost demand by the end of year.

Gold, energy down on TSX

General Motors rose by three per cent today after announcing a $5-billion US stock buyback plan.

The TSX index also had a selloff on Friday, but it continued downwards amid weak commodity prices. The TSX is down about 2.3 per cent so far this month.

Oil prices are gyrating around the $50 a barrel level in North America, with WTI up 69 cents today at $50.30 US a barrel. Brent oil fell 89 cents to $58.89.

The gold sector fell by three per cent today and energy stocks were down one per cent.

"Canada does have its challenges and the single biggest driver from our perspective is low energy prices and the degree to which energy prices stay lower for longer will have more of a negative impact," CIBC vice-president of equities Stephen Carlin said.

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