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bull market definition: What Is A Bull Market Should It Affect Our Behavior?

bull market definition

After just a few months, the S&P 500, Dow, and Nasdaq had all regained the value they lost, putting the market well into bull territory. By late August, the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq were up 58% and 75% from their March 23 lows. Our experts choose the best products and services to help make smart decisions with your money (here’s how). In some cases, we receive a commission from our partners; however, our opinions are our own. The term bear reportedly became popular in the early 18th century when referring to stocks after a trade company’s stocks collapsed after being sold by speculators who didn’t own them. It went from 6,594.44 in 2009, to a high of 29,551.42 on February 12, 2020, returning 348%.

bull market definition

They often occur when interest rates are relatively low, geopolitical tensions aren’t too intense, and inflation isn’t hurting peoples’ finances. A bull market doesn’t mean things go straight up or that there’s never a bad quarter, but stocks recover relatively quickly and show resilience despite bad news. For starters, they generally happen during periods when the economy is strong or strengthening. Bull markets are often accompanied by gross domestic product growth and falling unemployment, and companies’ profits will be on the rise. A bull market doesn’t only apply to stock markets, and it can also mean that prices are continuously rising for securities and assets like bonds, real estate, commodities, or currencies. Recession decreases investor confidence as corporate profits decline.

During a bear market, the economy slows down and unemployment rises as companies begin laying off workers. A bull market begins when investors feel that prices will start, then continue, to rise; they then begin buying stocks in the hope that they are right. This belief and the actions that follow cause stock prices to rise again. If you are in your 20s, 30s or even your a girl’s guide to personal finance 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. Bull markets generally take place when the economy is strengthening or when it is already strong.

How Common Bull Markets Are

After all, when most stocks are gaining day after day, it’s easy to look smart. Indeed, the market has been in bull mode for so much of the last decade-plus, it’s hard to remember what challenging investing looks like. For example, if a business earns $1 billion per year and has 1 billion shares, its earnings per share are $1. If the same business’s stock price is $10, then you divide the $10 stock price by 1 for a P/E ratio of 10. They’ll determine your investment goals, time horizon, and risk tolerance, and create a portfolio for you. The deeper the loss during a bear market, the greater the gain in the bull market that follows.

  • Stocks rally even when there’s negative news about the economy or a particular stock.
  • The Federal Reserve also lowered rates, and this provided much-needed stimulus to the economy.
  • The bear sold a borrowed stock with a delivery date specified in the future.
  • This is because a large part of financial market activity is influenced by investor psychology.
  • In such times, investors often have faith that the uptrend will continue over the long term.

A bull position, also known as a long position, is one where the investor profits when the price of the investment rises. A bear market occurs when prices in the market fall by 20% or more. This method is identical to the one above, except that investors continue to buy more and more of the security they think will do well in the coming market space.

Smith began her journalism career as a writer and columnist for USA Today. Smith is a graduate of St. John’s College in Annapolis, Md., the third-oldest college in America. The cause behind prices rising in a bull market depends on the individual bull run. In many cases, a bull run is the result of low-interest rates, investor confidence, business-friendly regulatory environments, market stability, and a host of other conditions. It refers to an upward trend in stock market prices, typically over a period of months or years.

Bull Market Characteristics

In a bear market, however, the chance of losses is greater because prices are continually losing value and the end is often not in sight. Even if you do decide to invest with the hope of an upturn, you are likely to take a loss before any turnaround occurs. Thus, most of the profitability can be found in short selling or safer investments, such as fixed-income securities. The key determinant of whether the market is bull or bear is not just the market’s knee-jerk reaction to a particular event, but how it’s performing over the long term.

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Rising prices indicate a bullish market sentiment, whereas falling prices would show a bearish market sentiment. It can also describe price fluctuations in sectors highly impacted by consumer confidence such as bonds, commodities like gold or oil, foreign currencies, real estate, or other asset classes. Any that pass through economic cycles and can either gain or lose value over time. For example, stocks entered a bull market in March 2009, amid the Great Recession, and lasted until COVID-19 effectively shut down the world economy in March 2020.

If you’re approaching the end of your investment timeline (a.k.a. you’re a few years away from your target retirement date), you have less time to recover from bear market dips. While we know the market historically has recovered from each bear market, you may not have the average two years for your investments to return to their previous values. 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. Bull markets can last for years, but they must eventually come to an end.

The Longest Bull Run in History: March 2009 to March 2020

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Others point to Shakespeare’s plays, which make reference to battles involving bulls and bears.

In 1990, a bull run began due to favorable corporate earnings results and the introduction of various tech companies. Toward the end of the decade, the bull market turned into a frenzy. Tech companies began to receive outlandish valuations, driving huge returns in the stock market for initial investors.

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. As investor optimism increases, the demand for securities will outpace the supply, which drives up prices and causes the bull market to come to fruition. Typically, over the course of a bull market, different types of stocks will lead the pack. In a young bull market , the cyclical sectors that are most sensitive to interest rates and economic growth do best, including financials, consumer discretionary and industrials.

How Long Does a Bear Market Last?

In October of 1987, the stock market crashed, resulting in more than 20% of losses in the Dow Jones in a single day. One of the most striking examples of a bull market is the post-war boom that the United States experienced after WWII. If you read investment analysis, you may come across analysts that say they are “bullish” about a stock. This means that the analyst believes that the stock will perform well. If analysts believe that a specific stock price will decrease in the future, they say they are “bearish” about a stock.

bull market definition

Sometimes the later stages of a bull market feature investors grabbing investments that later prove questionable, like the “meme” stock craze in 2020 or the dot-com bubble of the late 1990s. 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 rise 20% from a recent low.

They’ll be buying in bull markets and bear markets, and keeping you invested according to your goals and target allocations. That will remove the possibility you might be tempted to overbuy during bull markets or panic sell during bear markets. During bull markets, you’ll pay more for stocks, but you’ll buy fewer of them as a result. Conversely, during bear markets, you’ll pay less per share and buy more shares. Bull markets can be a time of heady optimism and rapid rises in share prices.

The Bottom Line on Investing Through Bear and Bull Markets

BTC price hit an all-time high in October 2021, when Bitcoin crossed the $66,000 mark, with Ethereum above $4,700. As crypto is extremely volatile, the holders have to keep an eye on the current market conditions. But businesses may be overvalued on paper after the IPOs, leading to market corrections or even a bear market. For example, the overvaluation of tech stocks during the Internet boom caused a dot-com bubble between 1998 and 2000. Bull markets often coincide with a strong economy and optimistic market sentiment; investors have a more positive outlook when inflation keeps a steady pace. Top-line growth of top-line revenue refers to a business’s gross turnover or revenues.

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While we adhere to stricteditorial integrity, this post may contain references to products from our partners. But just a month later, on March 11, the Dow lost over 20% of its value, falling to under 19,000. Widespread fears over economic and social damage brought by the global spread of the new Coronavirus, as businesses shuttered and millions of people were thrown out of work.

Price-to-earnings ratio (P/E)

This means that a cyclical bull market is more dependent on short-term changes in consumer spending and economic growth. The longest-lasting bear market in history, longer than the one after the Great Depression, started after the financial crash in 2009. This market boom was driven by stable economic growth, soaring corporate profits, and low-interest rates. Unemployment was at an all-time low, and the quality of life was improving globally. A bear market is the opposite of a bull market since a bear market is where prices of stocks, securities, or assets continue to decline over some time. High investor confidence in line with a stable economy will help the market to grow.

In addition, investors may benefit from taking a short position in a bear market and profiting from falling prices. There are several ways to achieve this including short selling, buying inverse exchange-traded funds , or buying put options. In a bull market, the ideal thing for an investor to do is to take advantage of rising prices by buying stocks early in the trend and then selling them when they have reached their peak. If prices fall 10% or less, it is considered to be amarket correction.

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