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Bearing up

Shares have been in a bear market for years. We just haven't noticed until now

Bear markets are naturally unpopular: people dislike seeing their investments go up in smoke. They are also misunderstood. It is commonly believed that bear markets are short-lived, ending after a few unpleasant months. That’s true of little bears, but great bears can hang around for a decade or more. They are characterised by the savage crushing of investors’ hopes. Most commentators argue that British and US investors hadn’t until very recently experienced such a market for more than quarter of a century. Actually, we are already some years into one.

A bear market is classically defined as occurring when a…

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