Bull Markets vs Bear Markets: The Differences Explained

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During a bear market, the economy slows down and unemployment rises as companies begin laying off workers. Just like the economy and job growth simulate a bull market, the opposite spurs a bear market. A simple bull market definition is that prices are rising and investors expect that to continue. There’s no specific way to measure when bull markets start, but some analysts say it’s when prices of a major index like the S&P 500 (SPX) rise 20% from a recent low. This technique involves selling borrowed shares and buying them back at lower prices.

TIME Stamp: Plan your portfolio for both types of markets

Investors’ confidence starts climbing and the overall demand for stocks and similar assets go up. Businesses and companies usually get higher equity valuations, which usually means high levels of initial public offerings (IPOs). One of the easiest ways to follow the state of the market is by tracking major indexes such as the Dow Jones Industrial Average or the S&P 500. If you notice these indexes are on a downward slope, then the market is likely shifting toward a correction or bear market. Views expressed are as of the date indicated, based on the information available at that time, and may change based on market or other conditions. Unless otherwise noted, the opinions provided are those of the speaker or author and not necessarily those of Fidelity Investments or its affiliates.

Bull vs Bear Market Periods

Because the market’s behavior is impacted and determined by how individuals perceive and react to its behavior, investor psychology and sentiment affect whether the market will rise or fall. Stock market performance and investor psychology are mutually dependent. In a bull market, investors willingly participate in the hope of obtaining vintage fx a profit. In the investing world, the terms “bull” and “bear” are frequently used to refer to market conditions. These terms describe how stock markets are doing in general—that is, whether they are appreciating or depreciating in value. Bull markets, on the other hand, can trigger a sense of euphoria as you see stock prices surge.

If You’re Retired

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. In the case of equity markets, a bull market denotes a rise in the prices of companies’ shares.

  1. GDP increases as consumers increase spending and unemployment rates decline.
  2. Once people realize that assets are priced higher than they’re worth, a massive sell-off is inevitable.
  3. A bull market, aka a bull run, is an extended period of time when stock prices increase (usually a 20% increase) compared to its most recent low.
  4. The market is said to be a bulls market when a rise of 20% in the whole sole performance of the stock market is observed.

Bear versus bull market: Here’s the difference and what investors need to know

A bear market is when the stock market has lost over 20 percent in over at least a three month period. A bull market is when the stock market is in an overall uptrend over the course of months or years. On the other hand, a bearish market is when the performance of the market is on the decline.

While bull markets are fueled by optimism, bear markets — which occur when stock prices fall 20% or more for a sustained period of time — are just the opposite. Bulls are generally powered by economic strength, whereas bear markets often occur in periods of economic slowdown and higher unemployment. Instead of wanting to buy into the market, investors want to sell, often fleeing for the safety of cash https://www.broker-review.org/ or fixed-income securities. A bull market allows investors to make profits by buying and selling stocks. However, a bear market can also be seen as an opportunity to buy stocks at lower prices or for day trading when market volatility is elevated. Remember, however, that your decision to trade should depend on your risk tolerance, size and goals of your portfolio, and your expertise in the market.

Long-term investors see market dips as a unique opportunity to get high-quality stocks at inexpensive prices and can reduce their average cost basis by purchasing shares at lower prices. That said, if you’re particularly concerned about stock market returns in retirement, you might opt for withdrawing only 3% of your portfolio. A financial advisor or tax expert can help you figure out the right withdrawal rate for your assets and risk tolerance. While you should try not to sell during a downturn, a bear market may also provide a reminder to revisit your investing strategy once the market recovers. Even though you know a market recovery will happen, you may realize that your willingness to take on risk is less than you thought. It’s important to note, though, that even during bear markets, the stock market can see big gains.

That increased demand for securities increases their price, which can then spur more even demand as even more people want in, sending stock prices—and gains—higher. While corrections offer a good time for value investors to find an entry point into stock markets, bear markets rarely provide suitable points of entry. This barrier is because it is almost impossible to determine a bear market’s bottom. Trying to recoup losses can be an uphill battle unless investors are short sellers or use other strategies to make gains in falling markets.

As of June 2, 2023, the S&P 500 market index nears bull market territory as it is now up more than 19.7% since its bear market low last October. Bull markets are an exciting time to invest in the market, so if you don’t have a brokerage account already, now is the perfect time. You can check out Insider’s picks for the best online brokerage and the best online brokerages for beginners for options on low fees, financial tools, and investment options. Understanding investor lingo is key to grasping the market’s current tone in order to make smart investing choices.

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 (NBER) identified 13 recessions, and there have been 13 bear markets, says Stovall. New bull markets produce new stock market winners and the “industry that leads in one bull market normally won’t come back to lead in the next,” O’Neil wrote. Investor sentiment can sometimes help to gauge when the market’s mood is about to change. If investors start talking positively and feeling confident, you might be heading into (or already in) a bull market.

Bull markets are those that show consistently rising stock prices on average over a period of time, usually at least six months. The longest bull market occurred just after the Great Recession, starting in 2009 and running through 2020. While bull markets generally don’t cause people too much stress, bear markets often inspire anxiety and uncertainty.