Nearly half of America has missed out on ‘one of the most unloved bull markets in history’

Gauging the winners and losers from the financial crisis isn’t rocket science: If you were in the more than one-half of American households that owned stocks in public companies over the past decade, all you had to do was close your eyes and hold on.

As of Thursday, the S&P 500, a measure of the biggest companies in the stock market, is up 329 percent, not including dividends, since the bear market low on March 9, 2009.

The Dow Jones industrial average is up 300 percent during the same period.

And the Nasdaq Composite, loaded with tech stocks, has rocketed 530 percent since the dark days.

For those who had significant money in the stock market, “you have seen your wealth soar,” said Chris Brightman, chief investment officer of Research Affiliates, which has more than $200 billion under management.

Then there are those who didn’t.

[Buybacks at giant firms spike after companies repatriate $300 billion from overseas]

The Americans who don’t own any or much stock missed out on one of the greatest decades of wealth creation in stock market history. The wealth disparity in the United States means that relatively few Americans have reaped the lion’s share of the stock gains.

“We have a large percentage of the population for whom the system is not working,” said billionaire investor Ray Dalio, founder of Bridgewater Associates and author of a new book titled “Big Debt Crises.”

“The central banks’ policy pushed up financial assets, which is stocks, and that benefited the people with financial assets. Poor people don’t have much in the way of financial assets,” said Dalio, whose firm invests $150 billion on behalf of clients worldwide.

[The stock markets are still going up and up. Is it time to sell?]

Edward N. Wolff, an economist at New York

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