Graphic Bull or bear market?

What these common expressions really mean

Bull market

  • Stocks are rising
  • The economy is expanding
  • Unemployment is falling or stable
  • Named for the way a bull drives its horns up

Bear market

  • 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.