On the bull market's 8th birthday, 8 facts to consider

FILE - In this Wednesday, Jan. 25, 2017, file photo, people pose with "Charging Bull," a bronze sculpture by Arturo Di Modica, in New York's Financial District. On March 9, 2017, one of the greatest runs for the stock market in history is marking its eighth anniversary, and this time investors are joining the party. They’re putting more dollars into mutual funds and exchange-traded funds that invest in U.S. stocks, a turnaround from earlier years, even though critics see a long list of reasons for caution. (AP Photo/Richard Drew, File)
FILE - In this Wednesday, Dec. 7, 2011, file photo, a person stands near the Apple logo at the company's store in Grand Central Terminal, in New York. On March 9, 2017, one of the greatest runs for the stock market in history is marking its eighth anniversary. In 2009, Exxon Mobil was by far the biggest publicly traded company, while in 2017, Apple has become the biggest publicly traded company. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan, File)
This Tuesday, March 1, 2016, photo, shows a Staples store sign in New York. On March 9, 2017, one of the greatest runs for the stock market in history is marking its eighth anniversary. However, during this time, traditional retailers, including Staples, have plunged as online competition has grown. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)
FILE - In this Tuesday, June 5, 2012, file photo, visitors stroll along Main Street at Walt Disney World, in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. On March 9, 2017, one of the greatest runs for the stock market in history is marking its eighth anniversary. It's not just stock prices that have risen over the past eight years. Prices for fun things, like tickets to Disney World, have gone up in the past eight years too. (AP Photo/John Raoux, File)
FILE - In this Wednesday, March 1, 2017, file photo, trader Peter Tuchman wears a "Dow 21,000" hat as he works on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange. On March 9, 2017, one of the greatest runs for the stock market in history is marking its eighth anniversary, and this time investors are joining the party. They’re putting more dollars into mutual funds and exchange-traded funds that invest in U.S. stocks, a turnaround from earlier years, even though critics see a long list of reasons for caution. (AP Photo/Richard Drew, File)
FILE - In this Friday, Jan. 17, 2014, file photo, a person displays Netflix on a tablet in North Andover, Mass. On March 9, 2017, one of the greatest runs for the stock market in history is marking its eighth anniversary, and this time investors are joining the party. Netflix is one of the biggest S&P 500 winners during the bull market. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola, File)
FILE - In this Tuesday, July 22, 2014, file photo, gold bars are stacked in a vault at the U.S. West Point, in West Point, N.Y. On March 9, 2017, one of the greatest runs for the stock market in history is marking its eighth anniversary, and this time investors are joining the party. Gold was looking like a better investment than even stocks in the summer of 2011, when its price surged to a record on worries about the U.S. credit rating, Europe’s debt crisis and the possibility of higher inflation. But each of the concerns has dissipated, and $10,000 invested in the largest gold ETF on March 9, 2009, is now worth about $12,650. (AP Photo/File)
FILE - In this Jan. 8, 2015, file photo, a sign with a sold sticker is posted in front of a row of new town homes in Richmond, Va. On March 9, 2017, one of the greatest runs for the stock market in history is marking its eighth anniversary. It's not just stock prices that have risen over the past eight years. Home prices have too. (AP Photo/Steve Helber, File)
FILE - In this Thursday, Sept. 17, 2015, file photo, a nurse administers a flu vaccine shot in Washington. On March 9, 2017, one of the greatest runs for the stock market in history is marking its eighth anniversary. Health insurance premiums have spiked well over 40 percent since 2008. Soaring drug and technology costs and the lack of a true market in which patients can hunt for the best deal all combine to push health care costs higher than inflation annually. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin, File)

Financial markets were in a pretty dark place on March 9, 2009.

The U.S. financial system had been shaken to its core by the collapse of Lehman Brothers a few months earlier, plunging prices for stocks and a freeze-up in lending.

That turned out to be the day the stock market bottomed out after that crisis, however, and the beginning of the current bull market, which is now the second-longest since World War II following a 10-year run that ended with the dot-com implosion in early 2000.

With the current bull market celebrating its eighth birthday, we thought it would be fun to collect eight facts about the market, and other things people care about, that help illustrate what's happened since then.

U.S. STOCKS

Anyone with a strong enough stomach to have held on through the market's ups and downs over the past eight years has been handsomely rewarded. A $10,000 investment on March 9, 2009 in Vanguard's Total Stock Market Index fund, the largest mutual fund by assets, is now worth nearly $42,000.

GOLD

Gold has been on a wild ride up, and then mostly down, in the past eight years. In the summer of 2011, gold was looking much more enticing to a lot of investors versus stocks. Its price surged to a record high on worries about the U.S. credit rating, Europe's debt crisis and the possibility of higher inflation. But each of those concerns has dissipated, and $10,000 invested in the largest gold ETF on March 9, 2009 is now worth about $12,650.

WINNING STOCKS

The biggest winners in the S&P 500 index during the bull market include drug companies that succeeded in bringing experimental drugs to market, Netflix, which grew into a giant streaming video service, and travel companies including airlines and booking websites.

Incyte, a drugmaker, went from just over $2 a share to $136, Alaska Air jumped from about $3 to $95 and Netflix jumped from about $5 a share to $140.

LOSING STOCKS

Traditional retailers have plunged over the past eight years as online competition grew, and natural gas companies have struggled as the price of that fuel fell by more than half thanks to the rapid growth of fracking.

Chesapeake Energy went from about $13 to just under $5 a share, Staples went from over $14 to just under $9, and Frontier Communications slid from a bit over $5 to about $2.50.

HEALTH INSURANCE PREMIUMS

Health insurance premiums have spiked well over 40 percent since 2008, reaching $18,142 per family in 2016, according to The Kaiser Family Foundation and Health Research and Educational Trust. If costs had remained static for employer-sponsored family health coverage in the U.S., rather than paying off your insurer, you could buy four plane tickets from New York to Tahiti, a semester at a public university, or a one-carat pave diamond engagement from Tiffany & Co. with a white gold band. Every year.

Soaring drug and technology costs and the lack of a true market in which patients can hunt for the best deal all combine to push health care costs higher than inflation annually.

HOME PRICES

The U.S. housing market was still reeling eight years ago from the collapse of the housing boom and the financial crisis. Home prices tumbled as foreclosures piled up. By March 2009, the U.S. median home price stood at $169,900, according to the National Association of Realtors. The downturn continued until about 2012, when the market started to slowly come back. By now, most homeowners who weathered the slump and subsequent rebound have seen their home equity recover, and then some. The median home price in January was $228,900, an increase of 34.7 percent, according to the NAR.

BIGGEST COMPANY, THEN AND NOW

In 2009, Exxon Mobil was by far the biggest publicly traded company, with a valuation of $345 billion, more than twice as big as its closest rival at the time, Procter & Gamble, according to S&P Dow Jones Indices. At that time it had been just two years since Apple had released its first iPhone, and, well, you know the rest. Apple is now by far the biggest publicly traded company with a value of $775 billion, more than twice Exxon's current value.

DISNEY WORLD

It's not just stocks, home prices, and health care ... prices for fun things have gone up in the past eight years, too. A one-day ticket for Disney's Magic Kingdom theme park in Florida would set you back $75 in 2009, not adjusted for inflation, according to AllEars.Net. This year, a regular, one-day adult ticket costs $115.

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Associated Press Business Writers Stan Choe, Marley Jay, Tom Murphy, Alex Veiga, Charles Sheehan and Seth Sutel contributed.

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