March 8, 2016 / 10:14 PM / a year ago

Factbox: When bull market began, President Obama was still unpacking

A bull, symbol of successful burse trading is silhouetted outside the stock exchange in Frankfurt, Germany, February 23, 2016. Picture taken February 23, 2016.Kai Pfaffenbach

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Seven years ago on Wednesday, newbie President Barack Obama ended a federal stem cell research ban, the iconic Barbie doll turned 50 and rapper Flo Rida's hit single "Right Round" topped the pop charts.

But for investors, the biggest news on March 9, 2009 - though they didn't know it at the time - was the bottoming out of stocks and the beginning of the third-longest bull market in U.S. history.

Here's a sample of how things have changed since the horns of the latest bull market first poked through:

- The S&P 500 is up 193 percent, to 1,979.26 at last close, compared to a closing low of 676.53 when the stock market hit the floor seven years ago.

- The S&P 500 reached its most recent high on May 21, 2015, when it was up 217 percent from the 2009 low. To maintain bull market status, the index would have to surpass that high and keep climbing. If, instead, it goes down 20 percent from that high, that date will be seen as the official end of the bull market.

- Of the S&P's 10 major sectors, the consumer discretionary one grew the most during the bull, surging about 378 percent.

- Energy has lagged the most, growing only 43.1 percent.

- Regeneron Pharmaceuticals (REGN.O) is the best performer of S&P components that have been in the index during the bull run, up more than 3,080 percent. On the downside, Southwestern Energy (SWN.N), off about 74 percent, is the worst performing component.

- This bull market will be 2,557 days on Wednesday.

- It would have to last 2,608 days to make it the second-longest and 3,454 days to be the longest ever. The two longest bull markets ran from June 14, 1949 to August 2, 1956 and October 11, 1990 to March 24, 2000.

- Other major indexes, the Dow Jones industrial average and Nasdaq Composite, grew about 159 percent and 266 percent, respectively.

- Along with stocks, the job market has been on the incline, with an unemployment rate of 4.9 percent. In 2009, unemployment hovered around 8.7 pct.

- One of the few things that hasn't seemed to change since the start of the bull market are the pop charts, where seven years later, Flo Rida, is still near the top - this time with "Hello Friday".

Reporting by Laila Kearney; editing by Linda Stern and Nick Zieminski

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