The bull market is dead, long live the bull market.
By some accounts, the Dow Jones Industrial Average DJIA, +6.37% just entered a new bull-market phase, killing the 11-day-old bear market. To some market participants that notion may, indeed, feel like a lot of bull.
It may be somewhat disingenuous to refer to the recent moves of a frenetic market as genuinely bullish, coming after the carnage that has been wrought at least partly by the coronavirus outbreak that appears certain to ravage the U.S. economy over the next several weeks and months — at least temporarily.
According to Dow Jones Market Data, the Dow’s recent moves, particularly over the past three days, have put it in bull-market territory. The Dow fell by at least 20% from its Feb. 12 peak on March 11, meeting the widely accepted definition for a bear market. Since the blue-chip index’s March 23 low at 18,591.93, the Dow has gained 21.3%, which meets the data team’s criteria for a re-entry into a bull market.
However, market technicians generally describe an asset as having exited a bear-market phase — and entering a bull phase — after putting in a new recent high. In other words, the Dow would have to exceed its Feb. 12 closing peak of 29,551.42 to achieve that, which means its bear-market condition is still in force.
Why would there be a divergent view as to what qualifies as a bull market?
It is important to know that there isn’t a standard arbiter for a bull market, nor is there one for