What ends bull markets?

A while ago we wrote an article for Asset magazine discussing what sorts of environments tend to coincide with the ends of bull markets (no we didn't mention over-leveraged day traders in China).  In terms of how the current bull market stacks up versus the really big (~100% or more) bull markets since WW2 we get this (current bull market in orange):

The current bull market (assuming we are still in one) isn't too unusual.  It has grown at a pretty similar rate to previous bull markets, and is longer than average, but not unusually long or even close to the longest.  

Its also interesting to look at financial market conditions around the end of bull markets - are there common factors?  The following table looks at some obvious potential villains - inflation, high rates, over valuation etc - none of these seem common to all bull market ends.  But earnings growth does look a bit suspicious.  All the previous bull market ends coincided with a negative earnings outlook.

Hard to tell from this quick and dirty look at the data whether there is a real relationship there - digging a bit deeper is on our "to do" list.  Right now, earnings estimates are pretty good.  Bloomberg consensus estimate for the S&P500 are +4.6% for the current year, +10.5% for next year and  +12.1% the year after.  FTSE are showing a very positive earnings outlook as well, this from their latest Market Briefs publication:

This is a long winded way of saying we are still positive about the market outlook.

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