How's Our Bear Market Doing?

As the market weakens, investors are once again beginning to wonder whether the worst is really over…or whether we’re once again headed back to the depths of the March lows.

So it’s a good time to review where we are and how this bear market compares to the many we’ve had before.

So, once again, we turn to chart-master Doug Short, who publishes regular updates at  The slideshow below includes Doug’s latest charts on the bear markets since 1950.  For updated, interactive versions, please visit


The Long View: S&P 500 1950-2009

The secular bear market since 2000 has lasted about 9 years thus far. That's about half as long as the bull market that preceded it (1982-2000) and the secular bear market that preceded that bull (1966-1982).

Source: Doug Short

Four Nasty Bear Markets

Here's how our bear market compares to four hideous bear markets that came before it.

After the recent recovery, we're down about 40% from the peak. Here's hoping we're not headed for the 1930s or Japan.

Source: Doug Short

Dissecting The Current Bear Market

Here's a close look at what has happened since the 2007 peak.

The recent rally is by far the largest since the top. It's also larger than the bear-market rallies that have occurred in most of the bear markets since 1950. But it's in line with several that occurred from 1929-1932.

Now let's review a bunch of earlier bear markets...

Source: Doug Short

Bear Market Analysis: 1956-1957

No parallel here. One big down leg, followed by one sharp up leg.

Bear Market Analysis: 1961-1962

Short. Double-bottom.

Bear Market Analysis: 1966

Again, a short cyclical bear with a double-bottom.

Source: Doug Short

Bear Market Analysis: 1968-1970

Now we're in secular bear-market land. Longer time horizon. More brutal down leg. But a quick, steady recovery.

Source: Doug Short

Bear Market Analysis: 1973-1974

Nastiest bear market since Great Depression...before we got to our current one. Took a decade to get back to the peak.

Bear Market Analysis: 1980-1982

The start of the long bull market, and the end of a 16 year secular bear market. Very sharp rise as the Fed attacked inflation.

Bear Market Analysis: 1987

Biggest one-day crash in history. Relatively rapid recovery. Set the stage for 15 years of 'buy the dip.'

Bear Market Analysis: 1990

Once again, a cyclical bear market within a long-term bull market. Relatively quick and steady return to old highs.

Bear Market Analysis: 2000-2002

Back to a secular bear market. This was the initial collapse. Brutal.

Source: Doug Short

Bear Market Analysis: Today

And back to today.

Are we going to get a sharp v-shaped recovery that will rapidly take the market back to new highs? Anything's possible, but it seems highly unlikely given the fundamentals of the economy and previous secular bear-market behaviour.

More likely, we're in the grinding years of a secular bear-market that will likely last another 5-10 years.

Click through to Doug's site for the latest: Doug Short

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