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Do all these takeovers signal the end of this bull market?

There are several ‘signs’ of a bull market coming to an end.

Time alone is a likely indication. The economy goes in cycles and each cycle has an end – an average good run for the economy is somewhere between eight to ten years looking back throughout history. This is one of the longest bull runs in history.

Valuations reaching lofty levels is another sign. Many ‘value’ investors have been saying that many businesses and indeed the whole US market is trading expensively. However, the ASX doesn’t look as expensive as a whole.

One of the other signs is a frenzy of takeover offers near the end of a bull run.

There have been a lot of takeovers in recent history.

Some takeovers have already gone through like Sirtex, Aconex, Mantra and Westfield.

There have been many other lobbed bids such as those for BWX Limited (ASX: BWX), Healthscope Ltd (ASX: HSO), Zenitas Healthcare Limited (ASX: ZNT).

Today and within the last few weeks there have been offers for Scottish Pacific Group Ltd (ASX: SCO), Greencross Limited (ASX: GXL), Navitas Limited (ASX: NVT) and MYOB Group Ltd (ASX: MYO).

The above doesn’t include all the recent takeovers that ASX businesses have been doing and offering, like Ramsay Health Care Limited’s (ASX: RHC) latest offer for European-based Capio AB.

Foolish takeaway

Perhaps it is a sign that the end of the bull run is coming, but takeovers happen throughout cycles and it could be years before this cycle finally ends. Things don’t actually seem overdone in terms of most valuations.

I wouldn’t ‘sell everything’ but I would remain cautious and focus on the value of individual quality businesses.

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Motley Fool contributor Tristan Harrison owns shares of BWX Limited, Greencross Limited, and Ramsay Health Care Limited. The Motley Fool Australia owns shares of and has recommended BWX Limited and Greencross Limited. The Motley Fool Australia has recommended Ramsay Health Care Limited and Zenitas Healthcare Ltd. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. This article contains general investment advice only (under AFSL 400691). Authorised by Scott Phillips.

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