Opinion: This week’s big rebound in stocks means the bear market is alive and well

Nhac Nguyen/Agence France-Presse/Getty Images

Caution: The stock market’s explosive rise in the past two days doesn’t necessarily mean the bear market is over.

If anything, the rally suggests that the bear market is alive and well.

How so?

It’s because daily spikes happen more frequently during bear than bull markets. So if you had to bet on the market’s major trend while knowing nothing more than the fact of the Dow Jones Industrial Average’s
DJIA,
+2.80%
700-plus-point increases in each of Monday and Tuesday’s trading sessions, your bet would have to be that the trend remains down.

Consider what I found upon analyzing the distribution of the 100 biggest daily percentage S&P 500
SPX,
+3.06%
gains since 1928. You’d be excused for thinking that such big trading days occur randomly, since daily market gyrations are often considered to be little more than statistical noise.

But if they did occur randomly, you’d expect that, statistically, only 30 of those 100 increases would have taken place during bear markets.

In fact, 58% have occurred during bear markets. That’s nearly twice what you’d expect if such gains occurred randomly, as you can see from the accompanying chart, below.

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