Bull or bear market?
What these common expressions really mean
- Stocks are rising
- The economy is expanding
- Unemployment is falling or stable
- Named for the way a bull drives its horns up
- Stocks are falling
- The economy is contracting
- Unemployment is rising
- Named for the way a bear swipes its paws down
Whether stocks are in a bull market or bear market can give a quick approximation of how the market is performing and what investors’ economic expectations are.
- Investors may refer to the stock market as being in a “bull market” or “bear market.”
- A bull market describes a period when stock prices are generally rising, while a bear market describes a time when stocks are generally falling.
- Bull markets tend to correspond with economic growth, while bear markets tend to correspond with economic contractions.
- Stocks may fall for a number of days (or even weeks) during a bull market or rise for days or weeks during a bear market. Whether a bull market has crossed into a bear market or vice versa generally depends on the magnitude of price movements.