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What are Bull Markets and Bear Markets?

May 26, 2008
If you are new to stock market investing, two terms you will hear thrown around a lot are "bull market' and "bear market". What do these terms mean and what does investing have to do with bulls and bears?

A bull market is when most people feel positive about the stock market and want to buy stocks. It is during long bull markets that the stock market keeps going up and up.

A bear market is the opposite and is when the stock market keeps going down no matter what. It is during these times that people lose sleep and continually wonder whether they should be selling their stocks.

During a bull market, you can probably make money from almost any stock. Everyone will want to give you their stock pick and chances are the stock will go up. All the pundits on TV will be pumping out their stock picks and you can most likely make money on any of them. Even your hair stylist may want to give you a stock tip.

If you start investing in stocks during a bull market you may get over confident. You may make money right away and think it is easy. This is something to be weary about if you are just starting to invest in stocks. It is not easy and things can turn around in a day.

During a bull market, everyone wants to sell. The stocks you own may go down 4 out of every 5 days. You will be confused and want to sell and wonder whether you should. Remember 9/11 when the stock market went down huge and kept going down for months after? Do you sell or do you hold? Will the stock market ever turn around? Do you buy more at a lower price? These are just a few of the questions that you will be faced with in a bear market. It is easy to invest in good times when everything is going up. The bear market times, on the other hand, are what seperates the pros from the amateurs. It is what you do during the down times that can make or break your investing year.

Most of the time the market is somewhere in between a bull and bear market. Usually the better stocks go up over time and the stocks of companies doing poorly go down. It is best to always try to pick stocks of companies that are doing well or will do well. Of course that is a skill that not too many posess. The stock market can be a confusing and scary place for beginners that takes a lot of time and experience to get used to.
About the Author
Stocks for beginners can be very confusing until you learn the terms. To find out more about how you can get started buying stocks please visit Stock Market For Beginners.
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