A bear market is when the price of investments and investor confidence levels fall significantly over a prolonged period. This is generally accepted to be a drop of at least 20% over at least two months and usually happens in a recession. During this time many investors believe the markets will continue to fall and sell their investments, therefore worsening the decline. The term, which is believed to come from stock trading in the 18th century, can apply to whole stock markets or individual securities. It is the opposite of a bull market.
This definition is for general information purposes only