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The Bear Market Starts - How To Avoid Big Losses?
We are not clairvoyants so we cannot predict how long this bear market will last, but what we can do is to suggest to you how to overcome this market condition. 

The bear market starts. Dow Jones closed down over 20% on March 11 compared to its highs in February. That is the end of its historic bull market run. The bear market starts. Actually, it started at the moment as the pandemic was declared by the WHO. What to do with your investments right now? Will the stock market crash?

No one knows for sure what will happen next. But it is quite possible that the coronavirus could put stocks down for a long time. What makes us afraid is that the bear markets can go along with the recession.

Investors are panicked. Past several weeks the stock market was switching so fast and unpredictable. Michael Macke, founder of Petros Advisory Services told CNBC Make IT about investors’ feelings: “like we are all Chicken Little.” His comment was relating to the tale about the chicken who was claiming the sky was falling, but the chicken was wrong, right or wrong?  “Only after the fact will we know for sure if we have a bear market or even a recession,” said Macke.

Nothing can last forever, even bad or good. The good times must come to the end at some point. This is particularly true for the stock market. And this bullish period did it. So, the bear market starts.
After a fairly exciting run, the stock market lastly jumped into the bear market territory. Investors are disturbed and panicked. 

But what do we know about the bear market? 

What to do when the bear market starts

The bear market is a point when stock prices drop at least 20% from a recent high. They will stay down there for a while. But how long will it take for the stock market to recover? What to do? Will the recession come too? What to do with investments? How to avoid losses and is that possible at all? This is a turbulent time. So many questions but several answers.

If we try timing the market we’ll be foolish. So, let’s see what experts have to say. First of all, they say drops like this one is a good opportunity to buy more stocks, particularly the people investing for retirement. This is important for younger investors who couldn’t buy stocks during the bullish market because the prices were too high, hitting all the time the new highs. If you have some spare money and you don’t need it in the next, for example, five years, put it in investments. But if you think you will need that cash it is smarter to stay away from the stock market. The history of the 200-years old stock market shows that the market will start to rebound as the bad news stops coming and the prices will stop to decline. 

What is smart to do during the bear market period?

When the bear market starts, it is smart to check your concrete investment strategy. If you are a young investor it is quite possible you are facing the bear market for the first time in your life. So, this is a great opportunity to check your risk appetite and how much you are able to manage it. You might obtain a valuable lesson.

Even advanced investors do the same. They are reviewing their portfolios to be sure that the investments they are holding are suitable for their investing goals. It is very important to see your investments are in line with the risks you take. Some experts think that pilling off into safer investments is a bad decision. And maybe they are right. History shows that if you successfully handle your stocks during the bear market, it is more possible to profit a great when the market recovers. Yes, this all about long-term investors because investing isn’t about a moment in time, it is a process over time.

What is the best strategy when the bear market starts?

No one likes this. This enemy is dangerous so don’t try to fight back with it. The most important is to stay calm. Okay, you may play dead as you should do when you meet the bear in the woods. Just lay down and pretend you are dead. This was a joke but it works when the bear market starts and everything seem so uncertain.
So, don’t be frightened. Fear is a bad partner now.

Do you know the old saying on Wall Street? “The Dow climbs a wall of worry.” What does it mean? This means the markets will continue to rise despite anything. Nothing can stop that. No matter if we have an economic crisis, terrorism, or other misfortunes. Just keep your emotions under control and far away from investment decisions. Look, today’s catastrophe will be just an unpleasant flash one day. Nothing more. Well, it can last a few years but still.

It is a normal condition

The other important thing. It is normal to have bad years in the stock market. They are coming in the cycles and it isn’t unusual. For long-term investors, this is particularly a favorable situation. They can buy stocks at discount. 

Speaking about this bear period, it might be smart investing in, for example, NFLX (Netflix) can be a good choice. Due to the coronavirus outbreak, and pandemic people have to stay at their homes and what are they going to do?  Watching TV, of course. That will bring a higher income with more subscribers, consequently, the dividends could be higher and the stock price will rise. But don’t buy Uber’s stock, for instance. You might wonder why. It is quite simple to explain. As more people will stay at home, less income will be for Uber and prices can drop. (Thank you Guy, for these examples.)

Maybe the stocks of the companies that are involved in vaccine development or anything related to this unfortunate situation are not bad decisions. Pharmaceutical, detergent, soaps, antiseptic, hygienic supplies producers, virus testing, and other biotech companies. Think about this.

Diversification can help also

The point is to have a well-diversified portfolio. If you don’t have yet, it is time to add bonds, cash, stocks. The percentage of each will depend on your risk tolerance, goals or are you an investor with a long time horizon or not. A proper allocation strategy will save you from potential negative forces. 

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Further, invest only the amount you can allow to lose, that will not hurt your budget or the whole capital. For example, don’t take short-term loans and buy stock with that money if you don’t plan to hold them for a long time, e.g. five years or longer.
Keep in mind, when the bear market starts, even trivial corrections, can be remarkably harmful.

But as we said, when the bear market starts that may provide great opportunities if you know where to look for. We pointed to just a few examples above. Maybe you should follow what Warren Buffett did. So, buy the value stocks since their prices are going down.

Bottom line

What to do when a bear market starts?

We can’t predict how long this bear market will last. If you’re considering selling off a group of stocks to lower your losses, just don’t do that. By doing so you’ll end up locked in losses. How can that situation help you? But if you have cash available for investing, this bear market period is a great time to do so. Remember, just don’t invest money you may need in the next five years or more.

Also, don’t get scared as some investors are when a bear market starts. The stock market will recover from this as always it did during history. If you buy stocks now and your plan is to hold for a long time, you will have good chances to end up in profit.

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