Was This a Bear Market Rally?

Originally published at Seeking Alpha

If you're like me you're probably very skeptical of this market rally off the March 23rd lows. I'm a natural cynic, but I try to remain open minded. Being open minded and flexible is the only way to survive this kind of market environment. I want to help you reconcile this rally within what could be a broader bear market, and how to know when/if it might reverse again. For the short term, however, the S&P 500 (SPY) might continue to rally.

Perhaps more importantly, what I try to demonstrate with this article is the psychological tug of war between bear and bull forces.

It's ugly out there.

The economy is getting crushed, Q2 (and beyond) earnings will inevitably be horrible and who knows when the next shoe drops (emerging markets? second virus wave?).

To be honest, I felt this way in 2009. It was a mistake to be bearish then. Could it be a mistake now?

I have to admit, this is the type of market environment in which one's mind tends to shift faster than the news-cycle. Things are evolving so quickly that traders need to either be nimble or think very long-term.

Longer-term investors (with a 5+ year time horizon) should probably forget about timing the bottom, and instead dollar-cost-average into a low cost index ETF like Vanguard Total Stock Market (VTI) with a 3bps MER. Case in point, someone that invested a lump sum in the S&P 500 (SPY) on October 1, 2008 (months from the ultimate bottom) would have gained 61% five years later.

If you have the intestinal fortitude to buy-and-hold through this market, skip to the next article. However, if you're more sensitive to the near term market gyrations keep reading.

How much worse can it get? Click here.

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