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White paper Bull, Bear, and
Sideways Markets
A tri-state market classification for evaluating active investment strategies. Based on the daily closing prices of well-known stock market indexes like the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA since 1885) and the S&P 500 Composite Index (SPX since 1928), we used a set of simple and well-known quantitative criteria to define three primary states of the stock market—a bull market, a bear market, and a sideways market—to the accuracy of a particular market trading day. Over the long histories of the two indexes, the tri-state partitions break down to about 60% of the time in bull markets, 20% in bear markets, and 20% in sideways markets.