A bear market is when a market experiences a prolonged price decline. It typically describes a condition in which securities prices fall 20% or more from recent highs amid widespread pessimism and negative investor sentiment.
Bear markets are often associated with declines in an overall market or index like the S&P 500, but individual securities or commodities can also be considered to be in a bear market if they experience a decline of 20% or more over a sustained period of time—typically two months or more. Bear markets also may accompany general economic downturns such as a recession. Bear markets may be contrasted with upward-trending bull markets.
- Bear markets occur when prices in a market declined by more than 20%, often accompanied by negative investor sentiment and declining economic prospects.
- Bear markets can be cyclical or longer-term. The former lasts for several weeks or a couple of months and the latter can last for several years or even decades.
- Short selling, put options, and inverse ETFs are some of the ways in which investors can make money during a bear market as prices fall.