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Bull Vs Bear Meaning

investment advice

Stock prices are rising in a bull market and declining in a bear market. The stock market under bullish conditions is consistently gaining value, even with some brief market corrections. The stock market under bearish conditions is losing value or holding steady at depressed prices.


  • Growth stocks in bull markets tend to perform well, while value stocks are usually better buys in bear markets.
  • During bull markets, businesses are expanding and hiring, but they may be forced to lower their head counts during bear markets.
  • When we experience a bull market, investors feel upbeat and invest with confidence.

During a bear market, the economy slows down and unemployment rises as companies begin laying off workers. A bear market rally takes place when the stock market posts gains for days or even weeks. This movement can easily trick many investors into thinking the stock market trend has reversed and a new bull market has begun.

Bull vs Bear

When someone says he is “bullish” on a single stock, he simply means he expects it to rise in price. FactorsBull PhaseBear Phase Economy pricesStocks can give higher returns for the higher risk they entail. Equity investment returns are good during this time.Preserving capital and stable income becomes important. So, less risky investments like bank fixed deposits, gold investments and government bonds are sought. InflationDue to increased demand, the production pace continues to grow and proves to be encouraging for wholesalers. Wages rise and suppliers demand higher prices.Demand shrinks or remains steady as only essentials are required.

So, it’s important to understand how each of these market conditions may impact your investments. If you are in your 20s, 30s or even your 40s and are investing for a far-off goal, like retirement, strive to hold onto your stocks and keep investing during any market. If you’re investing in a diversified portfolio, you crafted your investment strategy and holdings with both bull and bear markets in mind. A bear market is often caused by a slowing economy and rising unemployment rates.

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Let’s dive deeper into a bull and bear market to understand how you can incorporate it in your overall stock investing strategy. When an extremely high proportion of investors express a bearish sentiment, some analysts consider it to be a strong signal that a market bottom may be near. David Hirshleifer sees in the trend phenomenon a path starting with under-reaction and ending in overreaction by investors / traders. Ideally, investors would wish to use market timing to buy low and sell high, but they may end up buying high and selling low. Contrarian investors and traders attempt to “fade” the investors’ actions . A time when most investors are selling stocks is known as distribution, while a time when most investors are buying stocks is known as accumulation.


A very loose definition of a bull market – in other words, a market that is viewed as being on the rise more generally – is one that has risen by more than 20% from its most recent low. A similar definition – but in the opposite direction – applies to bear markets. To be clear, there is nothing especially significant about the figure of 20% – it’s just a big number. Consequently, many will start liquidating more volatile assets and place their funds into more stable assets, such as precious metals or government bonds.

A bull market is a financial market in which prices are rising or are expected to rise. If you’re unsure of how to rebalance your portfolio appropriately to match your timeline and willingness to take on financial risk, check out our guide to retirement savings here. You may also want to consult with a financial advisor to make sure you have the right diversification and investment mix. The longest bull market lasted from 2009 to 2020 and resulted in stock growth of more than 400%. The most recent bear market, which started in March 2020, was exceptionally short, ending in August when stocks closed at record highs. The previous bear market, the Great Recession, on the other hand, didn’t see a recovery for about four years.

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Historical or hypothetical performance results are presented for illustrative purposes only. Market changes, such as in bull and bear markets, can be distressing but can serve as unique opportunities if you have a plan. But when you have a strategy in place, you can generate profits and expand your portfolio at the same time. Instead of referring specifically to short sale traders investors began referring to anyone who expected price dips as bearish, and declining prices as a bear market. A bullish investor, also known as a bull, believes that the price of one or more securities or indexes will rise. Sometimes a bullish investor believes that the market as a whole is due to go up, foreseeing general gains.

Why is it called a bull market?

During this, investors generally feel pessimistic about the stock market’s outlook, and the changes in the stock market may be accompanied by a recession. But a bear market doesn’t always indicate that a recession is coming. In recent history, a recession has followed a bear market about 70% of the time. On the opposite side of a bull market is a bear market, where securities prices fall 20% or more from recent highs. This occurs amid widespread pessimism and negative investor sentiment.

One generally accepted measure of a market is a price decline of 20% or more over at least a two-month period. Generally, bull markets begin when stocks rise 20% from their low, and end when stocks drawdown 20%. However, some analysts suggest a bull market cannot happen within a bear market. You can prepare for a bear market by reducing risk in your portfolio. For example, you can increase the amount of cash and reduce the number of growth stocks in your portfolio. You can also select bonds or mutual funds that perform better during a bear market, such as gold funds and sector funds that focus on health care and consumer staples.

That is, the overall outlook is positive with growth in business and the economy as a whole. As a result, a general feeling of opportunity is high among investors. According to the formal definition, a bull market takes effect when stock prices have broadly increased by at least 20% since the last market downturn.

prices fall

Others may try to capitalize on assets that historically have better returns than stocks during a bear market, such as precious metals or Treasuries. Investors also worry about bear markets after astock market correction, which is less sudden than a crash. Corrections occur when prices decrease by 10% over weeks or months. Historically, the bull versus bear battle has been decisively won by the bulls. Since 1928, the S&P 500 has seen 26 bear markets and 27 bull markets. However, bull markets run for much longer than bear markets, and their gains far outweigh the losses endured during bear markets.

However, in a bearish phase, the sentiment is negative, and investors begin to move their money out of equities and into fixed-income securities, waiting for a positive move in the stock market. Bull markets generally coincide with periods of robust economic growth; investor confidence is on the rise, employment levels are generally high, and economic production is strong. Whether a market is bullish or bearish depends not just on the market’s knee-jerk reaction to a particular event, but how it’s performing over the long term. In other words, small movements represent only a short-term trend or a market correction, and it’s a longer time period that would actually determine the nature of the market. Bull markets generally coincide with periods of robust economic growth; investor confidence is on the rise, employment levels are generally high, and the economic production is strong.

Bear markets can sometimes lead to a recession if the economy is affected enough. A bear market is generally caused by a loss of investor, business, and consumer confidence. While financially painful, the bear market in 2020 was short-lived and relatively small compared to other bear markets. According to the investment company Invesco, the average length of a bear market is 363 days. Kevin Johnston writes for Ameriprise Financial, the Rutgers University MBA Program and Evan Carmichael.

Investors should only buy stocks in bull markets, according to IBD’sCAN SLIMinvesting approach. 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%. Optimism characterizes bullish people, markets and actions, while pessimism characterizes bearishness. An investor may also turn to defensive stocks, whose performance is only minimally impacted by changing trends in the market.

Food, clothing and FMCG prices increase and put pressure on the retail segment. Interest rateInterest rate cycle is on an uptrend and foreign investors get attracted to the high interest rate environment. This helps to control the excess liquidity in the economy.RBI reduces the interest rates to stimulate liquidity and capex to boost production; foreign investors avoid investing or pull out during this time. Consumer sentimentAll aspects of the economy are doing well during this phase, even consumers spend more. The spending power of an individual rises with the expectation that the economy will continue to grow and do well.Consumption reduces as spending power reduces. An individual intends to save more as the objective is capital preservation, until revival of economic growth.

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.

The best way to combat the ups and downs of the stock market — which are inevitable — is to stay the course with your long-term investment strategy. When we are in a bull market, and our economy is strong, there’s a strong demand for investment securities. Still, supplies are weak since many investors are buying and not selling. Because of this, share prices continue to rise as investors jockey for positions to buy. In the case of equity markets, a bull market denotes a rise in the prices of companies’ shares. In such times, investors often have faith that the uptrend will continue over the long term.

Trend analysis is a technique used in technical analysis that attempts to predict future stock price movements based on recently observed trend data. Learn the advantages and disadvantages of a put credit spread in this options trading guide. Learn everything you need to know about sell to open versus sell to close in this options trading guide.

“The stock market loses 13% in a correction on average, if it doesn’t turn into a bear market”. Baron Rothschild is said to have advised that the best time to buy is when there is “blood in the streets”, i.e., when the markets have fallen drastically and investor sentiment is extremely negative. It is very difficult to identify a bottom (referred to as “bottom picking”) before it passes. The upturn following a decline may be short-lived and prices might resume their decline. This would bring a loss for the investor who purchased stock during a misperceived or “false” market bottom.

Think of a bear with its nose pointed down and claws scratching down. In a bear market, with dropping prices, investors sometimes react defensively in an attempt to minimize losses. One common strategy is selling at a loss and putting your money in fixed-income securities. However, when planning, it can be beneficial to include securities that have the potential to grow during a bear market. Whether we know it or not, the stock market and how it’s doing at any given time is a reflection of how investors feel about and react to changes that occur in the market and the economy. Investors’ sentiment is a powerful tool and is directly related to stock market performance.