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Understanding What A Bear Market Is

Aug 17, 2007
A bear market is when the stock market falls for an extended period of time. The fall is usually around 20% and is the opposite of a bull market. A bear market is caused by the decline in stock prices which are directly influenced by a decrease in company profits. Falling stock prices can also be a correction of over valued stock.

When stocks become to expensive they will eventually fall to a more reasonable price. The decline stock market is further perpetuated by scared investors who will sell their stocks at the first sign of decrease stock prices and the cycle continues. For example the bear market during thw 1970s went on for over a decade when stocks went sideways. It was experiences like that which cause people to move away from day and active trading into more low risk investments. This is when the popularity of bonds and mutual funds began.

A bear market will cause your stocks to drop in price. The decrease in their value can happen extremely quickly or gradually over time. Both lead to the same conclusion that your quote value of a stock is actually lower. However, a bear market is only bad if you plan on selling your stock immediately or you simply need the money. Investments are really meant to be long term. If stocks prices drop all you need to do is wait for them to increase again. In fact bear markets, falling stock prices, and depressive markets are important to the success of the long term investor. Bear markets offer an opportunity to buy cheap stocks.

If you have the ability, financial basis, and the patience to wait a decade or more for your profit, bear markets are extremely important to you. Financial advisors will often tell their clients to sell their stocks when market prices fall but this is clearly a bad move. Financial advisor usually offer this kind of advice to appease an investor concerns and uphold their own reputation. In other word financial experts do not know everything, use your own judgment.

Investing money in a bear market is not rocket science but it can be tricky. You need to look for companies and funds that have the future potential to make you money 20 years from now. This is hard to do, since future predictability is impossible. However, you can use common sense. Gillette razors and coke product stock may fail 40% today in the future people are still going to buy both. The important point here is to not to couple stock price with business. Just because a stock price falls does not mean that a company is going under. As mentioned above it may just be a stock market correction.

If you can take a deep breath and have confidence you will realize that a bear market and falling stock prices is a good thing. It is like clearance sale on stocks, and suddenly companies which were out of your reach can be afforded. Everything in the universe including the stock market will find and maintain balance - thus bringing those falling stocks back up to reasonable price.
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