Mixed markets often lead to a debate over the primary trend. Bearish pundits insist:
This is just a bear market rally. It can be sharp and strong, but overall conditions are still bearish.
Bullish pundits suggest the opposite:
There is a strong bullish trend. Some dips occur, but these are merely buying opportunities.
Both traders and investors should be asking whether this debate is even relevant. There is no actionable difference; it is just semantics. In a market which has both ups and downs, and that means most of them, it is pretty easy to make an argument either way by your definition of the time frame. If you go back to the height of the Y2K days, I guess you can make the subsequent era seem bearish. If you go back more — or less! — it seems like a bull market.
This is a pundit’s paradise. Whatever your viewpoint, you can support it with data. This is worse than unhelpful. It reinforces the known cognitive biases of investor by providing apparent authoritative support for their error.
Trading and Investing Implication
The “bear market rally” debate is irrelevant. Traders should be interested in the next ten minutes, while investors should care about the next ten years.
Financial publishers always like to emphasize “actionable investment advice” and that is part of the problem. This argument has the illusion of relevant information.
Sometimes (often?) the best investment advice is to ignore pundit pseudo stories. The insightful investor understands how to tune out the noise.