NEW YORK (AP) — The stock market will officially celebrate the longest bull market ever Wednesday. Still, some analysts are concerned about the potential for a downturn.
S&P Dow Jones Indices, which compiles the benchmark S&P 500 index, and other research firms say the current bull market that began on March 9, 2009, is on track to become the longest in history on Wednesday, at 3,453 days.
U.S. stocks moved higher Tuesday afternoon as investors welcomed solid results from homebuilders, retailers and other companies. Technology stocks and banks also rose. The rally briefly placed the S&P 500 on track for an all-time high. The benchmark index of large U.S. companies was hovering just below its last closing high set seven months ago.
KEEPING SCORE: The S&P 500 rose 10 points, or 0.4 percent, to 2,867 as of 2:49 p.m. Eastern Time. The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 100 points, or 0.4 percent, to 25,859. The Nasdaq composite added 49 points, or 0.6 percent, to 7,870.
The Russell 2000 index of smaller-company stocks picked up 22 points, or 1.3 percent, to 1,720. The Russell 2000 was on track to close at a record high.
RECORD TERRITORY: Shortly before 1 p.m. Eastern Time, the S&P 500 briefly crossed above its latest closing high of 2,872 set on Jan. 26. The market took a steep plunge immediately after that, in early February, and has been mostly clawing higher since then, with some bumps along the way, thanks to a still-recovering economy and a boom in corporate profits.
Stocks have been buffeted by concerns about mounting trade tensions this spring and summer, particularly with China. Signs of potential progress have helped stocks rally in recent weeks. S&P Dow Jones Indices, which compiles the S&P 500, says that on Wednesday, the current bull market become the longest in history, beating the bull run of the 1990s.
"That we got to these levels in January was a big surprise, more so than we're back there now," said Bob Doll, chief equity strategist at Nuveen Asset Management. "We've had a mildly higher market after the correction on the back of these amazing earnings."
SOLID EARNINGS: Investors have had much to cheer about when it comes to company earnings this year, and the second-quarter reporting period has been no exception. Of the 93 percent of the companies in the S&P 500 that have reported quarterly results, 62 percent delivered earnings and revenue that beat analysts' forecasts, according to S&P Global Market Intelligence.
The strong earnings have been a source of encouragement for investors at a time of uncertainty over the trade disputes between the U.S. some of its biggest trading partners.
"In the absence of any new bad news, the trend for the market continues to be higher, and money continues to slowly flow in," said Craig Birk, chief investment officer at Personal Capital. "Earnings season was phenomenal and that removed one worry. When people are just looking at companies and just looking at economic fundamentals, they feel good about things."
DOWNTURN COMING?: When it comes to the stock market, many analysts insist a correction is coming.
Those concerns were echoed by famed columnist George Will. In the piece, Will noted that "all (economic) expansions end." An economic contraction "probably will begin with the annual budget deficit exceeding $1 trillion."
As it happens, the president's Office of Management and Budget -- not that there really is a meaningful budget getting actual management -- projects that the deficit for fiscal 2019, which begins in six weeks, will be $1.085 trillion. This is while the economy is, according to the economic historian in the Oval Office, "as good as it's ever been, ever."