bull market


Definition of bull market 

: a market in which securities or commodities are persistently rising in value — compare bear market

Examples of bull market in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

That relieved investors who were concerned that rising rates would drag down the U.S. economy and possibly bring an end to the nine-year-old bull market. Marley Jay, The Seattle Times, "Stocks surge as Powell hints at slower interest rate hikes," 28 Nov. 2018 As a bull market in the China H-share gauge extends into the 714th day, one of the longest in its 23-year history, investors are finding plenty of reasons to buy and few to sell. Bloomberg.com, "Five Things You Need to Know to Start Your Day," 28 Jan. 2018 The longest bull market in history just could be history, if Democrats dare to make the president history. Neil Cavuto, Fox News, "Cavuto: Good times should never be used to ignore bad things," 24 Aug. 2018 In fact, as far as Mays go, this was a good one, the best for the S&P 500 Index since the bull market began. Tory Newmyer, Washington Post, "The Finance 202: Trump's trade war makes enemies out of longtime U.S. allies," 4 June 2018 Stocks sank for the fourth-straight day on Tuesday, as investors looked past a series of outwardly positive earnings reports and fixated on threats to the nine-year-old bull market. Matt Phillips, New York Times, "Grumpy Investors Can’t Find Anything to Look Forward To," 24 Apr. 2018 On Wall Street, bear markets are periods of falling securities prices, while bull markets are upward trends. cleveland.com, "The bull market's 9-year anniversary in 9 numbers (NerdWallet)," 15 Mar. 2018 But that announcement came just before the historic 2017 bull market for cryptocurrency came to an end, and the company’s stock has slumped since. David Z. Morris, Fortune, "Nasdaq Says It Will Delist Long Blockchain, the Iced-Tea-Turned-Bitcoin Company," 20 Feb. 2018 At the same time, the bull market in stocks stalled. James F. Peltz, latimes.com, "Higher interest rates are spurring a subtle shift to cash investments. But don't expect to get rich," 22 June 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'bull market.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of bull market

1858, in the meaning defined above

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Last Updated

4 Dec 2018

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The first known use of bull market was in 1858

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bull market


Financial Definition of bull market

What It Is

A bull market is a period of several months or years during which asset prices consistently rise. The term is usually used in reference to the stock market, but it can describe specific sectors such as real estate, bonds or foreign exchange. It is the opposite of a bear market, in which securities prices consistently fall.

How It Works

Identifying and measuring bull markets is both art and science.

One common measure says that a bull market exists when at least 80% of all stock prices rise over an extended period. Another measure says that a bull market exists if market indices rise at least +15%. Of course, different market sectors may experience bull markets at different times.

The causes and characteristics of bull markets vary, but most financial theorists agree that both economic cycles and investor sentiment both play a role in the creation and momentum of bull markets. In general, a strong or strengthening economy, indicated by high employment, high disposable income and high business profits usually ushers in a bull market.

Rising investor confidence also indicates a bull market and is perhaps more powerful than any economic indicator. When investors believe something is going to happen (a bull market, for example), their actions can turn it into a self-fulfilling prophecy. Although difficult to quantify, investor sentiment can show up in mathematical measurements like the put/call ratio, the advance/decline line, IPO activity and the amount of outstanding margin debt.

Why It Matters

Regardless of their exact beginnings and ends, bull markets typically have four phases.

In the first phase, prices are low, investor sentiment is low, and investors are pessimistic about future prices. In the second phase, stock prices, trading activity and corporate earnings begin to increase and economic indicators are above average. Investor sentiment also gets more optimistic.

In the third phase, market indexes and many securities reach new trading highs. Trading activity continues to increase, and dividend yields reach historic lows. In the fourth and final phase, there is excessive IPO activity, trading activity and speculation. Stock P/E  ratios are also at historic highs. As investors take profits or react to bad news or negative indicators, bull markets generally unravel.

Bull markets usually present a multitude of moneymaking opportunities for investors because prices generally rise across the board. But bull markets don't last forever and they don't always give advance notice of their arrival, so the investor must know when to buy and when to sell to maximize his or her profits. This means the investor must attempt to time the market, or gauge when a bull market has begun and when it is ending.

Analysts spend thousands of hours trying to determine what will trigger the next bull market and how long it will last. Technical analysis is especially prevalent in this effort, although less sophisticated indicators such as hemline fashions or the NFL division of the last Super Bowl winner also provide fodder for such predictions.

For details on the history of the words that describe market trends, read The Quirky And Brutal Origins Of The Terms 'Bear' And 'Bull.'

Source: Investing Answers

bull market


English Language Learners Definition of bull market

: a market (such as a stock market) in which prices are going up

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Nglish: Translation of bull market for Spanish Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about bull market

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