A market trend is a tendency of a financial market to move in a particular direction over time. These trends are classified as secular for long time frames, primary for medium time frames, and secondary for short time frames.Traders identify market trends using technical analysis, a framework which characterizes market trends as predictable price tendencies within the market when price reaches support and resistance levels, varying over time.
The terms bull market and bear market describe upward and downward market trends, respectively, and can be used to describe either the market as a whole or specific sectors and securities.
Secular market trend
A secular market trend is a long-term trend that lasts 5 to 25 years and consists of a series of primary trends. A secular bear market consists of smaller bull markets and larger bear markets; a secular bull market consists of larger bull markets and smaller bear markets.
In a secular bull market the prevailing trend is “bullish” or upward-moving. The United States stock market was described as being in a secular bull market from about 1983 to 2000 (or 2007), with brief upsets including the crash of 1987 and the market collapse of 2000-2002 triggered by the Internet Technology Bubble.
In a secular bear market, the prevailing trend is “bearish,” or downward-moving. An example of a secular bear market occurred in gold between January 1980 to June 1999, culminating with the Brown Bottom. During this period the nominal gold price fell from a high of $850/oz ($30/g) to a low of $253/oz ($9/g), and became part of the Great Commodities Depression.
Primary market trend
A primary trend has broad support throughout the entire market (most sectors) and lasts for a year or more.
A bull market is associated with increasing investor confidence, and increased investing in anticipation of future price increases (capital gains). A bullish trend in the stock market often begins before the general economy shows clear signs of recovery.
A bear market is a general decline in the stock market over a period of time. It is a transition from high investor optimism to widespread investor fear and pessimism. According to The Vanguard Group, “While there’s no agreed-upon definition of a bear market, one generally accepted measure is a price decline of 20% or more over at least a two-month period.”
As the stock market continues to rally, many investors wonder when the Department of the Interior will start granting endangered species protection to Wall Street bears. Or, are any bears still living at all?
It seems that everyone on Wall Street is a bull today as the S&P 500 SPX +1.16% and Dow Jones Industrial Average DJIA +1.11% have settled into a predictable routine of “another day, another record,” despite the steady stream of negative macro economic data.
Bears, now virtually extinct, were hoping instead for a feast as the poor economic reports came pouring in over recent days
Despite all the bad economic news, Wall Street bears look positively cadaverous as financial markets levitate higher and seemingly disconnect from the real economy. This disconnect is generating an expanding discussion, and even a name, “The Great Disconnect,” which has followed “The Great Recession,” as Wall Street’s fortunes look decidedly different from those on Main Street.
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