U.S. stocks meandered Thursday as the eighth anniversary for the current bull market turned out to be a quiet one.
Large-company stocks finished mostly higher, but declines in smaller stocks across the board meant that more companies fell than rose on the New York Stock Exchange.
Industrial companies dipped as heavy machinery maker Caterpillar continues to slide. Health care companies climbed and banks rose along with bond yields.
The Standard & Poor’s 500 index picked up 1.89 points, or 0.1 percent, to 2,364.87 Thursday. The Dow Jones industrial average gained 2.46 points to 20,858.19. The Nasdaq composite rose 1.25 points to 5,838.81. The Russell 2000 index of small-company stocks lost 5.92 points, or 0.4 percent, to 1,360.12. More than two-thirds of the stocks on the NYSE ended lower.
The S&P 500 is up 250 percent since March 9, 2009, when it bottomed out in the depths of the financial crisis. The current bull run is the second-longest since World War II and it may have a while to go, as wages are growing and hiring appears to be on the rise.
“Bull markets typically don’t die of old age,” said David Lefkowitz, senior equity strategist at UBS Wealth Management Americas. “They typically die because there’s a downturn in the economy.”