Stocks surge

Marie Havenga • Jul 21, 2015 at 12:35 PM

Already lofty levels of the Dow Jones Industrial Average surged almost 50 points on Wednesday. The NASDAQ jumped 16 points and the S&P 500 picked up nearly a half percentage point.

But how long the eagle-like performance lasts is anybody's guess, according to local experts.

During the first three months of this year, the market surged more than 10 percent, due in part to strong corporate earnings and first-quarter job growth. The number of jobs jumped by 332,000 in February alone, the best monthly gain since 2005.

Employers added another 165,000 jobs in April, well above what was expected.

Recently, the Dow Jones Industrial Average and S&P 500 crossed symbolic thresholds of 15,000 and 1,600, respectively. The S&P has gained 140 percent in the past four years.

Jim MacLachlan, a vice president of the R.W. Baird financial investment firm in Grand Rapids, said it's an impressive run.

“This bull market we're in has lasted longer than average,” the Spring Lake man said. “This is not unprecedented, but it is an extended bull market.”

The stock market surge in the 1990s outpaced the current run, but it's been a four-year joy ride, MacLachlan said. The Dow plummeted to 6,500 in March 2009, but it's been mostly uphill since that low point.

“A lot of people got out of the market four years ago and didn't get back in,” MacLachlan said. “Those who have stayed the course have reaped the benefit, but you can't get carried away with one trend.”

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