Bull Vs Bear Definition

stock market

You should read and understand these documents before applying for any AxiTrader products or services and obtain independent professional advice as necessary. And as you no doubt know already, even in an upward trend some markets tend to pull back and then retrace. Similar moves can happen on a downtrend when some markets can bounce back up before dropping lower again. As you can tell, each of these different market types would call for different trading systems. And as you consider the different tools you use for trading, it may also be useful to analyse what’s stopping you from using the right tools for your forex trading.


An example would be the crash that began with the coronavirus pandemic, which resulted in a drop greater than 30% in the S&P 500 index. It might be challenging to tell whether we’re in a bear market or a bull market at any given point in time. It may feel like we’re in a bear market, but if the price of a particular index never reaches the 20% decline from the recent high, technical indicators still point to being in a bull market. Similarly, it may feel like we’re in a bull market, but the recent high may have peaked below the level of a previous bear market. One example is the NASDAQ exchange definition, which considers a market bearish when it breaks below its 200-day moving average.

market condition

The economy is often considered to be in a recession when GDP falls for two straight quarters, although other metrics also play a role. Since 1945, the National Bureau of Economic Research identified 13 recessions, and there have been 13 bear markets, says Stovall. From 1926 to 2014, the average bear market lasted 13 months with an average cumulative loss of 30%, while annualized declines for bear markets ranged from −19.7% to −47%. March 2009 to early 2020 marked the longest bull market (131.4 months) and period of economic expansion in U.S. history, seeing increases of over 400%.

Ideally, in a bull market, investors should buy and hold stocks – they should take advantage of increasing prices by securing stocks early in the trend and then sell when they reach the peak. Usually, bull markets tend to stay longer than bear markets — the longest bull market lasted from 2009 to 2020. Some investors watch for retracements within a bull market and move to buy during these periods. Will automatically get encouraged in a bullish market to expand the existing portfolio. However, in a bearish market, international investments may not be a favorable option for other countries, and such a move could be postponed to a futuristic date. Though bull markets offer plenty of opportunities to make money and multiple existing investments, such situations do not last forever.

A bullish person acts with a belief that prices will rise, whereas bearish investors act with the belief prices will fall. Patterns and trends in major stock market indexes are often described in bullish vs. bearish terms. Investors’ psychology and stock market performance are also mutually dependent. In a bull market, the increase in stock market prices boosts investor confidence, which causes investors to put their money in the market in the hope of obtaining a profit. In addition, investors may benefit from taking a short position in a bear market and profiting from falling prices.

What Is a Bear Market vs. Bull Market?

The recovery from the global financial crisis in 2008 took 1,376 trading days. It took markets even longer to reach their previous peak after the dot-com crash in 2000, at 1,803 trading days, or more than seven years. Both bear and bull markets will have a large influence on your investments, so it’s a good idea to take some time to determine what the market is doing when making an investment decision. Remember that over the long term, the stock market has always posted a positive return. Although a bull market or a bear market condition is marked by the direction of stock prices, there are some accompanying characteristics that investors should be aware of. The stock market can be bearish even while bull markets are occurring in other asset classes and vice versa.

  • Companies with great business fundamentals are likely to produce significant returns for your portfolio over time.
  • Their lengths varied wildly, with one lasting just six months and another nearly three years.
  • The financial crisis was the most recent bear market, but the Nasdaq and S&P 500 closed in bear market range in December 2018.
  • This was done with the expectation that stock prices would go down and the stock could be bought back at the lower price, with the difference from the selling price kept as profit.
  • For example, bullish sentiment in the crude oil market may point to increased industrial activity, but this is not always true.
  • In sum, the decline in stock market prices shakes investor confidence.

As an investor, it’s important to keep your emotions from taking over during a bull market. If, for instance, you have a 60% to 40% investment strategy—with stocks at 60% of your portfolio and fixed income at 40%—a long rally might take stocks to 65% or 70%. That’s a time to consider taking some profits to return your portfolio to your original investment goals. Otherwise, you could get hit harder when the bull market eventually ends. Generally, bull markets reflect widespread optimism about the market and future economic growth.

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If you continue flipping a coin 100 times, there may be instances of successive heads or tails. Now, relate this to the short-term movement in the stock market, like the downward movement to tails and upward movement to heads. Regardless of the current state of the stock market, it’s important to stay focused on the long-term prospects of the companies in which you are invested. Companies with great business fundamentals are likely to produce significant returns for your portfolio over time. This is another example of how an understanding of the bond market, can help stock investors predict and position for future stock market price action. For bond investors specifically, there are also numerous strategies that can be put into place to profit directly from changes in the shape of the yield curve.

The yield curve flattens as a result of the difference between long term interest rate and short term interest rates shrinking. When traders expect the yield curve to flatten, they will go short short-term bonds and long long-term bonds. As the difference between short and long term interest rates converge, the trader should earn more from the short-term bonds they sold short, than they lose on the long-term bonds they went long. A bear market describes a decline in average stock prices like the S&P 500, whereas a recession describes a slowing of economic output in a country. Economic output is the total value of goods produced and services provided by a country and is also known as gross domestic product, or GDP.

secular bear

Some of these patterns include bullish and bearish triangles, wedges, cup and handle, double top, double bottom and quasimodo. If you want to learn the strategies to successfully invest regardless of how the market is performing, I’d like to invite you to join my Live 3-Day Virtual Investing Workshop. Where I’ll tune in with you in an interactive setting to help you make smart investing decisions whether the market is thriving or in the middle of a recession. Where most people feel really scared or nervous in a bear market, we’re looking to buy $10 dollar bills for $5 bucks. It’s like going to a flea market and everything is on sale, we get really excited.

What Makes Stock Prices Rise in a Bull Market?

Understanding that a bull market signals rising stock prices and a strong economy, while a bear market signals falling stock prices and possibly a weak economy is crucial to any type of investor. The terms “bull market” and “bear market” describe upward and downward market trends, respectively, and can be used to describe either the market as a whole or specific sectors and securities. Thomas Mortimer recorded both terms in his 1761 book Every Man His Own Broker.

Although some investors can be “bearish,” the majority of investors are typically “bullish.” The stock market, as a whole, has tended to post positive returns over long time horizons. Bear markets are more extreme versions of corrections, which are defined as a drop of 10% to 20% in the general market. During the Great Recession at the end of the 2000s, for example, market prices dropped by more than 50%. Things were even worse during the Great Depression, with prices falling by an astonishing 83%.


Supply and demand are varied when investors try to shift allocation of their investments between asset types. Similarly, a bear market rally (sometimes called “sucker’s rally” or “dead cat bounce”) is a price increase of 5% or more before prices fall again. Bear market rallies occurred in the Dow Jones Industrial Average index after the Wall Street Crash of 1929, leading down to the market bottom in 1932, and throughout the late 1960s and early 1970s. The Japanese Nikkei 225 has had several bear-market rallies between the 1980s and 2011, while experiencing an overall long-term downward trend. In a secular bear market, the prevailing trend is “bearish” or downward-moving. An example of a secular bear market occurred in gold between January 1980 to June 1999, culminating with the Brown Bottom.

Listed SecuritiesListed security refers to a financial instrument such as stocks, bonds, derivatives, etc., registered with and readily tradable on the stock exchanges like NASDAQ and NYSE. Therefore, it’s essential to keep in mind your risk tolerance, having a diversified portfolio, and strategic thinking can minimize losses as the market changes. Bear markets take on average about seven months to fall below the 20% marker and 16 months to track from top to bottom.

Low interest and low corporate tax rates also are positive for corporate profitability. Since bull markets are difficult to predict, analysts can typically only recognize this phenomenon after it has happened. A notable bull market in recent history was the period between 2003 and 2007. During this time, the S&P 500 increased by a significant margin after a previous decline; as the 2008 financial crisis took effect, major declines occurred again after the bull market run. A bull market is a period of time in financial markets when the price of an asset or security rises continuously. To forecast market trends and various ratios and formulas that explain current gains and losses in stocks and indexes and their expected movement in the future.

If you could anticipate when bull or bear markets were going to begin and end, you could adjust your investments accordingly to take advantage of the changing conditions. The reality is that once bull and bear markets become clear to investors, it’s probably too late to take advantage of the change. A bull market is when a major stock market index rises at least 20% from a recent low. With a bull market, stock prices steadily increase, and investors are optimistic and encouraged about the stock market’s future performance. Bull markets generally take place when the economy is strengthening or when it is already strong.

A secular market trend is a long-term trend that lasts 5 to 25 years and consists of a series of primary trends. A secular bear market consists of smaller bull markets and larger bear markets; a secular bull market consists of larger bull markets and smaller bear markets. A bull market is a term given to a stock market condition when it is rising or expected to rise. It is generally said that as markets scale up over time, without falling for more than 20% from its previous 52-week peak, it is considered as a bull market.

During a bear market, market sentiment is negative; investors begin to move their money out of equities and into fixed-income securities as they wait for a positive move in the stock market. In sum, the decline in stock market prices shakes investor confidence. This causes investors to keep their money out of the market, which, in turn, causes a general price decline as outflow increases. A market is usually not considered a true “bear” market unless it has fallen 20% or more from recent highs.

Another theory on the bull vs. bear market origin has the term “bull” referring not to the animal but bulletins to buy stocks on the London Stock Exchange in the 17th century. A board full of bulletins signaled a strong market vs. when it was bare. Because the businesses whose stocks are trading on the exchanges are participants in the greater economy, the stock market and the economy are strongly linked. Once they no longer have an active income stream, many people shift their investing strategies to preservation instead of growth.

Instead, it’s a good signal the could rally into a solid bull market. According to IBD founder William O’Neil, investors should watch for afollow-through day, which often signals the beginning of a new uptrend. You can see how, as an investor, understanding these two scenarios is key to determining what to do with your money. A bear trap denotes a decline that fools market participants into opening short positions ahead of an upside reversal that squeezes those positions into losses.

The commonly accepted of a bull market is when stock prices rise by 20% after two declines of 20% each. It provides a platform for sellers and buyers to interact and trade at a price determined by market forces. Usually, a bull market happens when the economy is strong or getting stronger. High employment rates, high gross domestic product, and other measures of economic well being and stability are generally thought to correlate with bull markets. When prices fall for an extended time and are expected to continue dropping, that’s a bear market.

Visit Now 67% of retail investor accounts lose money when trading CFDs with this provider. You should consider whether you can afford to take the high risk of losing your money. NerdWallet, Inc. is an independent publisher and comparison service, not an investment advisor.

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