7-year bull makes investors $16T richer!

March 10 03:20 2016

The bull market celebrates its seventh birthday today. Here’s the real accomplishment, though: Putting $16 trillion into the pockets of investors. Investors with the guts to ride this bull market since it first emerged on March 9, 2009 have seen the value of stocks rise $16 trillion, according to market research firm Wilshire Associates. Just to put that into perspective – that’s nearly equal to the U.S. gross domestic product of $17 billion.wall-street-bull

Much of those huge market gains were generated by a few runaway winners. Just seven mega-winners in the bull, digital gadget maker Apple (AAPL), online advertising company Alphabet (GOOGL) and software maker Microsoft (MSFT), together generated $2 trillion of the bull market’s run, according to a USA TODAY analysis of data from S&P Global Market Intelligence. “Looking at the performance of individual stocks since (March 9, 2009), there have been some monster gains,” according to a report to clients by Bespoke Investment Group.

Part of these stocks’ success is due to their massive size when the bull market started.  “There is one constant: these nine companies were all large to mega-cap companies on March 9, 2009. So, the biggest gainers by market cap were large to begin with,” says Hank Smith, chief investment officer at Haverford Trust. Some of these big winners were also the result of valuations getting beaten down – leaving plenty of upside for the brave investors who stepped up. Some of the money minted by individual stocks in this bull market is downright impressive. Apple holds the top spot having added $486 billion to investor wealth since the bull started seven years ago – or 4% of the roughly $11.3 trillion in wealth created by companies in the Standard & Poor’s 500. Shares of Apple jumped 751% during the period – which is remarkable given that the company was already valued at $74 billion back in March 2009. The runaway popularity of Apple’s smartphone turned it into an constant winner during the bull. The company’s revenue has jumped 448% from 2009 to end 2015 at $235 billion.

Stocks that got hammered during the financial crisis were also set up to profit handsomely for investors. Banks Wells Fargo (WFC) and JP Morgan Chase (JPM), but also General Electric (GE) which was heavily dependent on its financial unit in 2009, were hit hard during the financial crisis. That means they were primed to perform – and generate lots of wealth for investors – once the crisis eased, Smith says. These stocks “were overly beaten up by the end of the bear market and experienced big bounces to more normalized levels,” Smith says. General Electric’s stock had dropped to $7.41 in March 2009 – but has soared 305.7% since to $30.07.