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By Ian Salisbury
May 7, 2021
Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange
Getty Images

Feel like the stock market seems to set a new record every day? You’re not far off.

Take a look at the chart below, from Charlie Bilello, founder of asset management firm Compound Capital Advisors. The Dow Jones Industrial Average has set 23 records this year, something that’s happened only about two dozen times going back more than 120 years to 1900. And, of course, we’re only about a third of the way through 2021.

So bullish news? Yes and no. It’s worth noting that, while 23 record closes is a very strong historical showing, it’s not all that unusual for the past decade, which saw 52 records in 2013 and a mammoth 71 — the all-time record — in 2017, despite the spate of recent stories touting the market’s performance during President Biden’s first 100 days.

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And while it’s too early to tell what the rest of 2021 will hold, a glance at past bull markets, especially the historic 1980s-1990s one, shows that the stock market tends to set new records at the most furious pace early on, then taper off towards the end before tipping into a bear market.

If that pattern holds, it could suggest that, while 2021 has had a strong start, the market’s long 13-year comeback from the 2008-2009 financial crisis may already be on the back slope.

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