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It’s often said that the stock market is not the real economy, meaning: Wall Street traders make educated guesses about the future, so don’t read too much into this or that moment’s results. Stocks bounce around. GDP numbers, hiring and other data better reflect the nation’s health.

But if the stock market isn’t the real economy, it’s real life for tens of millions of Americans who have 401(k), IRA or other retirement savings. If you’re one of those people, check your mailbox or online account for second-quarter results to get a satisfying jolt: Your balance is rising.

The Standard & Poor’s 500 index shot upward by 17 percent in the first half of 2019, the best result since 1997. The Dow Jones industrial average is up about 15 percent this year. This continues a prosperous streak for the markets since President Donald Trump was elected, vowing policies that would goose the prior steady but staid growth. From Election Day 2016 to July 2019, the Dow is up about 47 percent, the S&P 40 percent.

It’s not just the wealthy who benefit. Gallup polling suggests that about 54 percent of Americans own stocks either directly or via mutual funds, pension accounts and other retirement kitties.

As of this month, the U.S. is in the longest economic expansion in U.S. history, surpassing the 1990s. The growth spurt began with the June 2009 end of the Great Recession.

By cutting taxes and removing regulatory burdens, Trump’s administration has given private sector business owners confidence to invest in future growth — and to hire more employees. If he can resolve trade fights that have hurt Illinois farmers and raised the cost of doing business for many Illinois companies, he’ll help the economy and the markets extend their growth curves.

Print Headline: OTHERS SAY Boom time

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