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A Low Volume Bull

Ever since the current bull market began in early 2009, the most oft-cited criticism is that volume has been weak.  Even the most casual market observer has heard the complaint that rallies on light volume are unsustainable, and in effect, don’t count.  The argument sounds good in theory, but followers of this logic would have essentially missed out on what is now the ninth strongest and longest bull market (and more) in the history of the S&P 500.

In order to illustrate the fallacy of this argument, the chart below shows the performance of the S&P 500 since the bull market began on March 9th, 2009 along with its performance if we take out all days where volume (as measured in SPY) was below its 50-day moving average.  So far during this bull market, the S&P 500 is up 108.5% (blue line).  If you back out all days (up and down) over the same period where volume was below average, however, you come up with a decline of 30.1%.

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