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Factbox: Bull market turns 8 - historical facts and figures

By Chuck Mikolajczak

(Reuters) - The S&P 500's bull market run turns eight years old on Thursday as equities rebound from the sharpest recession since the Great Depression.

A bull market is generally defined as a 20 percent rise in the S&P 500 (.SPX) from its previous low, and ends when the index declines 20 percent from its high.

Over that time, extremely accommodative monetary policy from the Federal Reserve and a slowly improving U.S. economy have enabled the benchmark index to more than triple from its low.

Below are some facts and figures on the current bull market:

* The eight-year run for the current bull market is the second longest in history, behind the one that lasted from Oct. 11, 1990 to March 24, 2000.

* The 250 percent gain for the index during the bull run is the fourth-best. The longest bull in the 1990s stands also as the most rewarding yet for stock investors, with a gain of 417 percent.

* The total market capitalization of the S&P 500 is close to $21 trillion, compared to $5.89 trillion eight years ago.

* Incyte Corp (INCY.O) is the best performer among companies that have remained in the S&P 500 through the full bull market, with a gain of nearly 6,600 percent. Southwestern Energy (SWN.N), with a decline of more than 72 percent, is the worst performer.

* Consumer discretionary (.SPLRCD) is the best performing sector with a gain of nearly 450 percent. The energy sector (.SPNY), with a gain of about 67 percent, is the worst.

* The unemployment rate at the start of the bull market was 8.3 percent, on its way to a high of 10 percent in October 2009. The most recent payrolls report showed an unemployment rate of 4.8 percent.

* The final gross domestic product reading in March 2009 showed a year-on-year contraction of 5.7 percent. The Atlanta Fed's GDP Now forecast model released on Wednesday expects the economy to grow 1.2 percent through the current quarter.

(Reporting by Chuck Mikolajczak; Editing by James Dalgleish)