The difference between a bull and bear market is something that every sucessful investor knows. When the market moves downwards for a period of time the market is referred to as a bear market. Upward moving markets are bull markets. If a particular stock is doing well, it is said to be bullish. If it is losing value it is bearish. Of course, there are more to bull and bear markets than that, as you will soon discover.
1. Bull Also, Bear Markets
These terms refer only to long term fluxuations, not short term changes in the market conditions. This is because even during a bear market prices may increase temporarily.
2. A Reflection Of The Economy
Usually stock market conditions reflect the state of the economy. During bull markets the economy is doing well, unemployment is low and interest rates are reasonable. Bear markets usually occur during times of economic slowdown. Investors lose confidence and companies may begin laying off workers. At the extremes, an exaggerated bear market can lead to a crash brought on by panic selling. An exaggerated bull market can be caused by over-enthusiasm of investors. It leads to a market bubble that will eventually burst.
3. When To Make Money
Although most money can be made during bull markets, there are also opportunities during bear markets. Knowing the characteristics of each type of market allows investors to profit from them. As would be expected, when the market is bullish investors wish to buy up stock. The economy is doing well and people have extra money that they wish to invest in stocks. This creates a situation of short supply that drives up prices even higher. During bear markets, on the other hand, prices are falling so investors wish to unload their stocks and put their money in fixed-return instruments such as bonds. As money is withdrawn from the stock market, supply exceeds demand that drives prices down even further.
4. Bull Markets Offer The Best Opportunities
It is easiest to make money during a bull market. Getting in right at the beginning will allow you to make the most profits. During a bull market any dips in the market are temporary and should soon be corrected. The upward rising prices cant go on forever, though, so the investor needs to be able to gauge when the market reaches its peak and sell at that time.
5. When To Buy
Bear markets represent opportunities to pick up stocks at bargain prices. Getting in near the end of a bear market offers the greatest chance for profit. The prices will most likely fall before they recover, so the investor should be prepared for some short term loss. Short-selling is also an investment strategy during bear markets. Short selling involves selling stock that you do not own in the anticipation of further price drops, so that when it comes time to deliver you can buy the stock for less than you sold it.