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Bear Market Definition

Bear Market Definition

What Is a Bear Market?

A bear market is a period of contraction in financial markets. It is ordinarily defined as a period where prices have fallen 20% from a recent pinnacle.
Which prices are being estimated? Analysts use stock market indexes as a bellwether to portray more extensive economic trends. In particular, the S&P 500 contains 500 of the biggest companies trading in America, and its performance is in many cases utilized as a representative benchmark. While bear markets for the most part depict a period when the S&P 500 falls 20%, the term can likewise be utilized while examining the performance of other market indexes like the Dow Jones Industrial Average or the Nasdaq Composite, fixed-income securities like bonds, whole market sectors, commodities, or even individual stocks.

What Happens in a Bear Market? What Causes Bear Markets?

During a bear market, the stock market declines, and assets become less significant. This is different from market corrections, when prices fall somewhere around 10% โ€” these are normally impermanent. The idea of a bear market is longer. In bear markets, stocks (especially small-cap stocks, or those with small market capitalizations) can experience increased volatility or extraordinary price changes due to bring down trading volume.
There are a bigger number of dealers than buyers in this type of environment, and sometimes, a news event, for example, a supply shock, can cause excited selloffs, or capitulation. More extensive macroeconomic changes, for example, when the Federal Reserve raises interest rates, can likewise make the stock market contract, albeit that just may be the thing the Fed is attempting to do. For instance, when it increases its Fed Funds Rate, the Fed needs to tighten liquidity and subsequently curb inflation before it gains out of influence.
One negative outcome of a bear market is that the economy could enter a recession, albeit that is not unavoidable all the time. As a matter of fact, while a bull market might feel better to investors, there are numerous opportunities for profitable investing in bear markets, too.

How Long Do Bear Markets Typically Last?

Expansion and contraction are normal parts of the economic cycle. Yet compared to bull markets, bear markets are ordinarily short-lived. These charts of bear and bull markets in the S&P 500 starting around 1932 illustrate this well โ€” there have 12 bear markets compared to 14 bull markets, however the duration of the bear markets is a whole lot shorter: The bear markets are just 25 months (around 2 years) long in average, compared to an average length of 59 months (nearly 5 years) for bull markets!

Chart of Bear Markets

StartLength (Months)
S&P Dow Jones Indices

Chart of Bull Markets

StartLength (Months)
S&P Dow Jones Indices

Which Stocks/Investments Do Well in a Bear Market?

Just on the grounds that you're in a bear market doesn't mean you can't bring in money. Think about this: Half of the S&P 500's best days in the past 20 years occurred during a bear market. Individual stocks frequently move freely of more extensive market trends, and these moves can occur because of various factors, from analyst moves up to earnings reports. Thusly, savvy investors ought to have a strong comprehension of their stocks' underlying fundamentals, and they shouldn't let market averages scare them off.
At the point when the markets truly do turn south, clever investors might need to consider strategies like short selling, which is selling a borrowed stock (through a broker) with the objective that the stock's value will fall. Investors can likewise profit from derivative securities like put options. On the off chance that an investor is bearish on a stock, they can buy a put option and bring in money when it goes down. Another thought is buying an inverse ETF, which, similar to its namesake, is intended to perform in a contrary method of the market it tracks.
One proven investment strategy that can assist investors with enduring any market cycle is dollar-cost averaging, a long-term investment plan that shores-up any short-term volatility by purchasing shares at standard spans: When the resource's price is lower, more shares are purchase to such an extent that when its price goes up once more, you will have significantly more profit.

Bear Market versus Bull Market

A bull market is one that has been consistently rising, while a bear market is seeing a decline. Bull markets as a rule appreciate strong GDP growth, raised consumer confidence, and high rates of employment.
Bear markets, then again, are times of vulnerability, and fear and nervousness might be the sentiments of the day. Bear markets are frequently described by higher inflation and rising unemployment.
Of course, no trend is supported everlastingly, and a rally happens when prices rise โ€” sometimes pointedly or quickly โ€” for a while. A bear market rally is when stocks increase for some time before continuing their decline. A few investors have instituted their own term for this: a "temporary, false recovery," which is a short-lived rally that distinguishes the lower part of a bear market, in spite of the fact that it doesn't signal the market's base and can be precarious to recognize, which is the reason it's otherwise called a sucker's rally. Focusing on the fundamentals is consistently important.

What's the significance here When Someone Is Bearish on a Particular Stock?

Assuming that somebody is bearish on a stock, they have the expectation that its value will decline. Moreover, on the off chance that they are bullish, they accept it will rise.

Are We in a Bear Market?

TheStreet's James "Fire up Shark" Deporre accepts that feeling is causing the market's recent volatility, which is a function of bear markets. Be that as it may, he likewise trusts there's a silver coating for investors.


  • Bear markets can be cyclical or longer-term. The former lasts for quite some time or two or three months and the last option can last for quite a long time or even many years.
  • Short selling, put options, and inverse ETFs are a portion of the manners by which investors can bring in money during a bear market as prices fall.
  • Bear markets happen when prices in a market decline by over 20%, frequently joined by negative investor sentiment and declining economic possibilities.