Bull market vs. bear market – what’s the difference?
These are opposite concepts, so the difference isn’t particularly difficult to guess. Prices are continuously going up in a bull market, while prices are continually going down in a bear market.
This also results in differences in how it may be best to trade them. In a bull market, traders and investors will generally want to be long. While in a bear market, they either want to be short or stay in cash.
In some cases, staying in cash (or stablecoins) may also mean shorting the market, since we’re expecting prices to decline. The main difference is that staying in cash is more about preserving capital while shorting is about profiting off the decline in asset prices. But if you sell an asset expecting to buy it back lower, you’re essentially in a short position – even if you are not directly profiting from the drop.
One additional thing to consider is fees. Staying in stablecoins will likely not incur any fees, as there typically isn’t a cost to custody. However, many short positions will require a funding fee or interest rate to keep the position open. This is why quarterly futures may be ideal for long-term short positions, as there is no funding fee associated with them.
How traders can take advantage of bull markets
The main idea behind trading bull markets is relatively simple. Prices are going up, so going long and buying dips is generally a reasonable strategy. This is why the buy and hold strategy and dollar-cost averaging are generally well-suited for long-term bull markets.
There’s a saying that goes like this: “The trend is your friend, until it’s not.” This just means that it makes sense to trade with the direction of the market trend. At the same time, no trend will last forever, and the same strategy may not perform well in other parts of a market cycle. The only certainty is that the markets can and will change. As we’ve seen with the COVID-19 outbreak, multi-year bull markets can be wiped out in a matter of weeks.
Naturally, most investors will be bullish in a bull market. This makes sense since prices are going up, so the overall sentiment should also be bullish. However, even during a bull market, some investors will be bearish. If their trading strategy accommodates for it, they may even be successful with short-term bearish trades, such as shorting.