Market Extra: What rose in the third quarter? Stocks, bonds—basically everything

Once again, a “set it and forget it” strategy has paid off for investors.

The third quarter was another winner across the economy, with basically all regions, sectors, commodities, and bond categories seeing gains over the period.

For the U.S. stock market, the quarter was merely the latest notch on the bull market’s seemingly unstoppable march upward. The S&P 500 SPX, +0.37% has risen for eight straight quarters—meaning the last negative quarter occurred in the third quarter of 2015—and it has risen by nearly a third over that period.

Equities were supported by a number of factors over the quarter, notably a better-than-expected second-quarter earnings season, which supported the idea that fundamentals remained strong in corporate America despite high valuations.

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