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

Photo composite: Dom Amatore for The Wall Street Journal Investors are concerned that rising wages and energy costs will eat into corporate profits, threatening the decadelong bull market in stocks. Akane Otani, WSJ, "Investors Brace for Hit to Profits as Costs Rise," 3 Apr. 2019 Analysts said that Trump’s business-friendly policies, as well as the tax cut legislation, have helped boost a bull market that began in 2009. Jim Puzzanghera, latimes.com, "Fact-checking the economic claims Trump is likely to make in his State of the Union address," 30 Jan. 2018 Photo: AP Photo The yearslong expansion in U.S. corporate profits may be coming to an end sooner than investors expected, a warning sign for the nearly decadelong bull market. Michael Wursthorn, WSJ, "The Bull Market’s Next Test: A Possible Earnings Slump," 7 Feb. 2019 And now there's been a battle back and forth between he and President Obama who takes the credit for this bull market, the longest in history. Fox News, "Ken Langone on preventing Hurricane Florence price gouging," 12 Sep. 2018 Whether the downdraft goes down in history as a mere hiccup, or spells the end to one of the longest bull markets in recent memory is, of course, anyone’s guess. Lu Wang, Bloomberg.com, "When Will It End? Bloodied Traders Are Seeking Clues," 11 Feb. 2018 That sign of a healthy economy suggests to some investors that the bull market has more room to run. Akane Otani, WSJ, "Stocks Start Off 2019 With a Bang," 27 Jan. 2019 Bullion could top $1,400 an ounce in 2018 as escalating trade tensions drive investors to havens and the three-decade bull market in bonds nears an end, said Rule, who’s due to speak at a conference in Hong Kong on Wednesday. Ranjeetha Pakiam, Bloomberg.com, "Gold Is Heading to $1,400 If Trade War Breaks Out, According to Sprott," 2 Apr. 2018 The mighty tech titans and their seemingly endless pipeline of profits, which powered one of the longest bull markets in stocks, are looking a little less invincible. Matt Phillips, The Seattle Times, "Tech stocks lead slump that erases November’s gain," 19 Nov. 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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Statistics for bull market

Last Updated

8 May 2019

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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

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

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Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with bull market

Nglish: Translation of bull market for Spanish Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about bull market

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What made you want to look up bull market? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


something valued as if it were money

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