Of Doctors, Bull and Bear Markets

Join Our Mailing List

DEM blue

Of Bull and Bear Markets

By Dr. David Edward Marcinko MBA CMP®

SPONSOR: http://www.CertifiedMedicalPlanner.org

CMP logo


A bull market is generally one of rising stock prices, while a bear market is the opposite. There are usually two bulls for every one bear market over the long term.

More specifically, a bear market is defined as a drop of twenty percent or more in a market index from its high, and can vary in duration and severity. While a bull market has no such threshold requirement to exist, other than they exist between these two periods of sharp decline.

Whither the Bear? 

As a doctor, your action plan in a bear market depends on many variables, with perhaps your age being the most important: 

In your 30s:

  • Pay off debts, school or practice loans.
  • Invest in safe money market mutual funds, cash or CDs.
  • Start retirement plan or 401-K account. 

In your 40s:

  • Increase your pension plan or 401-K contributions.
  • Stay weighted more toward equity investments.
  • Review your goals, risk tolerance and portfolio. 

In your 50s:

  • Position assets for ready cash instruments.
  • Diversify into stock, bonds and cash. 


  • Maintain 3 years of ready cash living expenses.
  • Reduce, but still maintain your exposure to equities.


Bear + A Falling Stock Chart




Your thoughts and comments on this ME-P are appreciated. Feel free to review our top-left column, and top-right sidebar materials, links, URLs and related websites, too. Then, subscribe to the ME-P. It is fast, free and secure.

Speaker: If you need a moderator or speaker for an upcoming event, Dr. David E. Marcinko; MBA – Publisher-in-Chief of the Medical Executive-Post – is available for seminar or speaking engagements. Contact: MarcinkoAdvisors@msn.com




  Risk Management, Liability Insurance, and Asset Protection Strategies for Doctors and Advisors: Best Practices from Leading Consultants and Certified Medical Planners™           Comprehensive Financial Planning Strategies for Doctors and Advisors: Best Practices from Leading Consultants and Certified Medical Planners™

[Dr. Cappiello PhD MBA] *** [Foreword Dr. Krieger MD MBA]

Front Matter with Foreword by Jason Dyken MD MBA


12 Responses

    [Is The Stock Market Signaling a Recession?]‏

    Last week’s jobs data suggest the same is true of reports that a recession is imminent in the United States.

    Barron’s explained:

    “Thank goodness the mid-February fears of recession that brought markets to their knees – and the 10-year Treasury yield to a low of 1.53 percent – were overblown. Friday’s nonfarm payrolls report was the latest confirmation. It showed that 242,000 jobs were created last month, far more than expected and up from the previous month’s reading, which was itself revised higher.”

    The employment data weren’t all positive, though. Average hourly earnings declined when it was expected to increase and the number of hours worked was lower, on average, than it has been for two years.

    Regardless, The Wall Street Journal said employment, consumer, and business spending reports helped calm investors’ fear the U.S. economy was losing momentum. Some investors sold bonds, which helped push the yield on 10-year Treasury notes higher.

    Investors also were encouraged by last week’s oil price rally, according to CNBC. A better demand outlook, coupled with cuts in supply, boosted oil prices by 9.5 percent in one week.

    U.S. stock market performance reflected investors’ renewed optimism. USA Today said, “Stocks have rebounded from their worst start to a year ever, with the benchmark S&P 500 trimming its year-to-date loss to 2.15 percent after being down by more than 10 percent on February 11.” At the end of last week, the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index was about 6 percent below its record high.

    Arthur Chalekian GEPC
    [Financial Consultant]


  2. Hello Arthur,

    The markets have traced a jagged path through the first months of 2016 as investors considered a variety of issues: slower economic growth in China, lower oil prices, the U.S. dollar’s strength, and the Federal Reserve’s stance. With the markets volatile, investors anxious, and corporate profits down, the possibility of a U.S. recession has been raised.

    As noted, a recession is often defined as two consecutive quarters of contraction in gross domestic product (GDP). Recessions historically translate to reduced consumer and business spending, jobs, income, and industrial production. Declining revenues and profits lead to a drop in stock prices. Depending on the recession’s length and strength, results can range from disruptive to destructive for an economy and nation.

    Although all recessions are accompanied by a stock correction, not all stock corrections lead to a recession. That’s what prompted economist Paul Samuelson to quip, “The stock market has forecast nine of the last five recessions.”

    Overall, financial markets–based models tend to assign higher probabilities of recession, but have much lower predictive power than macroeconomic fundamental models.

    One baseline view remains that the U.S. economy is unlikely to enter a recession in the next 6-9 months. OTOH, some economic model set the probability of an outright U.S. recession at less than 15%.

    Still, other economic models identify increased odds of a “growth scare” later—a slowdown in job growth—later in 2016. This is one of the reasons we anticipate the Fed to raise rates to 1% this year and then pause as the pace of U.S. job growth cools.

    So, go figure?

    Dr. David E. Marcinko MBA


  3. The Markets

    It’s like déjà vu all over again!

    This wasn’t the first quarter, or even the first year, that bond markets have not performed in the way Wall Street strategists have expected.

    During 2014, bond yields were expected to rise. They did not.

    During 2015, bonds were predicted to finish the year yielding about 2.8 percent to 3.3 percent. On December 31, they were at about 2.3 percent.

    During the first quarter of 2016, despite persistent predictions yields would move higher after the Federal Reserve’s rate hike, yields fell and bond values increased. Government bonds delivered the strongest returns gaining 3.7 percent for the quarter, according to Bloomberg.

    There is an inverse relationship between interest rates and bond prices. When rates move higher, bond prices move lower, and the value of investors’ holdings may fall. When rates move lower, bond prices move higher, and the value of investors’ holdings may increase.

    The current bull market in bonds started in 1982. During January of that year, the 10-year U.S. Treasury yield was about 14.6 percent. Since then, rates on Treasuries have declined and investors have reaped the rewards of steadily rising bond values.

    The Federal Reserve began tightening monetary policy in December 2015 by raising the fed funds rate. Late in the month, the rate on benchmark 10-year Treasury bonds reached about 2.3 percent. However, after central banks in Europe and Japan loosened their monetary policies, yields on Treasuries moved lower. By the end of the first quarter of 2016, they were at about 1.8 percent.

    Overseas, the picture was a bit more complicated. An expert cited by Bloomberg explained, “Of the five countries that performed best – Germany, Belgium, Denmark, Japan, and the United Kingdom – the two-year debt of all but the United Kingdom has negative yields.”

    When bonds have negative yields, investors are paying to lend their money. Why would anyone do that? The Economist reported there are three types of investors who buy bonds when yields are negative: 1) central banks and other entities that must own government bonds, 2) investors who expect to make money when a country’s currency gains value, and 3) investors who would rather suffer a small loss in government bonds than risk a bigger loss investing in something else.

    That something else might have been a stock market during the first month or so of the quarter.

    Globally, stocks underperformed bonds, returning 0.4 percent for the first quarter of 2016. However, the end-of-quarter return doesn’t really tell the whole story. Fears of global recession, among other things, produced a wild ride for stock market investors during the first months of the year. Worldwide, stocks were down about 11.3 percent through mid-February, according to Barron’s, and then gained 13.2 percent to end the quarter slightly higher, overall.

    The United States delivered strong returns for the period. Barron’s reported:

    “Still, the United States fared a good deal better than other developed markets, with Europe down 2.4 percent, the United Kingdom off 2.3 percent, and Japan worse by 6.4 percent – a surprise because overseas markets were touted as the places to be. That is, except for emerging markets; but their results also confounded the seers, as they returned a robust 5.8 percent for the quarter.”

    At the end of last week, the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ monthly jobs report showed more people were looking for jobs, increases in employment exceeded analysts’ expectations, and average hourly earnings had moved higher. These were positive signs for the U.S. economy.

    Arthur Chalekian GEPC

    [Financial Consultant]


  4. How to make Ten Trillion Dollars

    Last week was a busy one, and not just for markets. While stocks suffered their worst week in two months as Oil prices rallied strongly, Charlie Bilello and I focused on our thank you speech to the Market Technicians Association at this year’s Symposium for awarding us the 2016 Dow Award (click here to download). At the end of the morning award acceptance, I closed off the speech by encouraging everyone to attend our afternoon presentation if he or she wanted to learn about how to make $10 trillion.

    The hook worked. The room was full with some standing because there weren’t enough seats. Charlie and I spent about an hour going over our findings, carefully explaining the dynamics of leverage and moving averages, and carefully attacking common myths about both. We were humbled to see tweets and hear chatter about how thought-provoking our presentation was. Many of the questions focused on certain slides, but some unfortunately focused on the end-result of the backtested $10 trillion.

    Why do I say this is unfortunate? Because the focus on the end-result of the analysis rather than the analysis itself is precisely what is wrong with the way markets are analyzed these days.

    For many, the only “analysis” one does is to look at what appears after the equal sign (performance), rather than what comes before it (process). Consistent with our thinking, we emphasize what goes into the result and incorporate behavioral overlays to quantitative research. Inevitably though there will always be those who simply don’t want to look beyond the solution to the equation that is all that matters.

    This problem is endemic in the investment business. Often times when being asked about what we think about markets currently and whether stocks will go up or down, I’ll reference how our quantitatively driven Beta Rotation Index (click here to view) is positioned in terms of defensive or offensive sector allocation at the present time. If stocks go up when defensive, inevitably some will ask why, with hindsight, Beta Rotation was defensive to begin with. All I can do is shake my head, because the solution of the moment ends up taking precedence over the longer-term process and equations that go into the signals used.

    This is maddening when you take a step back and think about just how little time is spent on truly understanding signals and market behavior. People spend more time looking at cat videos than delving into an investment strategy, reading a prospectus, or studying a white paper. Our most popular white paper, the 2014 Dow Award on Beta Rotation which is one of the foundations for why we do what we do, has nearly 60,000 abstract views on SSRN.com, but under 12,000 actual downloads. Rather than spend the time on the actual analysis, the conclusion is all that matters. And that, folks, is simply a complete misuse of time when it comes to thinking about ways of managing money. The positioning of the moment and end-result matters far less than truly understanding the why of why things work.

    Michael A. Gayed CFA


  5. The Markets

    We all learned a thing or two about Panama last week.

    The country is not the home of the Panama hat, which is made in Ecuador. However, it is the only place in the world where you can watch the sun rise on the Pacific Ocean and set on the Atlantic Ocean.

    It’s also home to a lot of offshore companies, according to the millions of records leaked from the world’s fourth largest offshore law firm. The Guardian reported 12 national leaders were among 143 politicians, athletes, and wealthy individuals (including family members and associates) who were participating in offshore tax havens.

    It’s not illegal to hold money in an offshore company, unless the company facilitates tax evasion or money laundering, reported The New York Times. Further investigation will be required to know whether that was the case. CNBC suggested financial markets could be affected if the findings lead to greater regulation of foreign banks or prosecutorial action against them.

    While the Panama scandal captured a lot of attention, it didn’t have much of an impact on markets. News that the U.S. Treasury was cracking down on corporate inversions, along with indications the U.S. Federal Reserve may raise rates twice during 2016, caused stocks to dip late in the week. Some major U.S. indices finished the week lower. (Corporate inversions are mergers that give U.S. companies a foreign address and lower their tax rates.)

    We may be in for another round of market volatility. Corporate earnings season is here. That’s the period when publicly traded companies report how well they performed during the previous quarter. CNBC said, “Over the past 10 years, the emergence of first-quarter earnings reports has generally corresponded with a rise in volatility.”

    Arthur Chalekian GEPC
    [Financial Consultant]


  6. The Markets (as of August 12, 2016)

    Talk of a possible cut in oil production following news of an informal meeting of OPEC next month sent energy stocks higher at the beginning of last week. The spike in both energy stocks and market indexes didn’t last long, however, as oil prices slumped by midweek, taking equities with them. Nevertheless, by last week’s end, stocks rallied to close at just about where they started. In fact, by last Thursday, the Dow, S&P 500, and Nasdaq had surged to all-time highs–the first time all three major indexes had done that on the same day since 1999.

    The price of crude oil (WTI) closed at $44.69 a barrel last week, up from $41.98 per barrel the previous week. The price of gold (COMEX) remained at about the same price, closing at $1,341.70 by late Friday afternoon, $0.30 ahead of the prior week’s price of $1,341.40. The national average retail regular gasoline price decreased for the eighth week in a row to $2.150 per gallon on August 8, $0.009 under the prior week’s price and $0.479 below a year ago.

    Michael Green RIA


  7. The Markets (as of market close August 26, 2016)

    As the “dog days” of summer drag on, trading continues to be relatively light. Oil prices fell at the beginning of last week amid rumors that Iraq may up its oil exports, prompting stocks to retreat. While stocks rallied midweek, they sunk by the close of trading last Friday following Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen’s intimation that short-term interest rates could be in line for an increase sooner rather than later. Of the indexes listed here, only the Russell 2000 didn’t lose ground. The Dow, S&P 500, and Nasdaq suffered their largest losses since the week of the Brexit vote in June.

    Overseas, retail sales picked up in the UK in July as the weak pound (a result of the fallout from Brexit) may be attracting foreign consumers. China’s economic growth has clearly slowed as industrial production and retail sales weakened.

    The price of crude oil (WTI) closed at $47.33 a barrel last week, down from $48.57 per barrel the previous week. The price of gold (COMEX) fell, closing at $1,325.00 by late Friday afternoon, down from the prior week’s price of $1,345.80. The national average retail regular gasoline price increased for the first time in the last 10 weeks to $2.193 per gallon on August 22, $0.044 higher than the prior week’s price but $0.444 below a year ago.

    Michael Green RIA


  8. On long-term interest rates

    The sharp increase in long-term interest rates immediately after the U.S. election has raised some investors’ expectations of higher inflation and interest rates in the near future.

    The yield on the 10-year U.S. Treasury note has surged to its highest level in about a year. As bond yields rose, prices declined because the two move in opposite directions.

    The jump in interest rates may be attributed to investors’ reaction to President-elect Donald Trump’s proposed expansionary fiscal policies, which include increased infrastructure spending and lower taxes.

    This is important because the Federal Open Market Committee was already expected to raise short-term interest rates in December for the first time this year. Although the global economy remains relatively weak, the U.S. economy has continued to grow, albeit at a slower pace. The U.S. economy is near full employment, consumer spending is at its highest level in about two years, and inflation is close to the Federal Reserve’s 2% target.

    Now, against the backdrop of solid fundamentals for the U.S. economy, the long-term economic outlook remains focused on lower trend growth. We don’t expect markedly higher inflation in the next five to ten years. We do expect inflation to move modestly higher in the medium term, however. That will help build a case for the Federal Reserve to raise short-term interest rates to about 1%.

    While rate increases could bring an immediate capital loss for bond investors, long-term investors are likely to benefit. By reinvesting earned income at higher rates, investors can help offset the impact of bond price declines, and eventually offset any price losses with higher income returns.

    Regardless of the future direction of U.S. fiscal and monetary policies, investors are best served by holding a broadly diversified portfolio with an asset allocation that fits their goals, time horizon, and risk tolerance.

    Dr. David Edward Marcinko MBA CMP®


  9. Dr. Marcinko and Readers,

    A lot has clearly happened post-election to investment markets, as significant rotations have pushed money into new themes. There has been a historic streak of positive returns in small-cap stocks, bonds have sold off aggressively, cyclical stocks have rallied, and the dollar has hit multi-year highs. The theme that appears on the surface to be most broken is the hunt for yield, as dividend plays hugely diverged from headline averages. All of these tectonic moves happened because the market was wrong in assuming H. Clinton would win, even though nearly all polls prior to the election showed the two candidates to be within the margin of error.

    Being contrarian clearly paid off. The market was wrong in its certainty about who the future president would be. Being contrarian can pay off when such conviction occurs in the minds of investors. Trump’s win in and of itself is a perfect example of contrarianism to the narrative that existed throughout the election that he would never win. Human beings, however, rarely learn. Conviction is what got most investors in trouble about the election. Now, we may be in an overshoot where a different kind of conviction could subsequently result in another shock move.

    The overriding belief here is simple: Trump will be a reflationary President. Why? Because he will push through infrastructure spending, and cause a significant jump in growth through tax credits/cuts. Yes – this would short-term likely be bullish. But what all of the pundits and all of the narratives are forgetting about is the starting point of fiscal debt. J. Yellen in recent testimony made the very good point that government is likely unable to significantly take on more debt to boost near-term growth, and that if it did, there would be even less potential for stimulus whenever the next recession comes around (and it will).

    This is where stocks are likely wrong. Whatever legislation Trump gets passed will explode debt. Debt can be reflationary short-term, but long-term tends to do quite the opposite as servicing debt becomes a bigger a bigger portion of where revenue is spent. So we have this interesting situation here where the market believes Trump will do aggressive fiscal stimulus, taking on more debt, and being inflationary. But rates rising would make any of that stimulus more and more expensive, which will pull from future growth. The underlying assumption now is that the Dollar is rising because of this “America First” theme D. Trump ushers in. But it could very well be that the Dollar is strong anticipating that Trump may actually end up being a deflationary President. And before you say “there’s no way!” ask yourself what you would have said about Trump winning to begin with.

    Am I saying that the yield theme will return? No – I believe deeply that the one thing Trump could be is the catalyst for normalization of inter-market behavior. What we have experienced in the last few weeks is precisely how risk-on behavior should look, as bonds and stocks diverged the way they historically have prior to the last few years. But I also believe that we may be in the midst of a significant overshoot by stocks and bonds due to conviction about Trump and what happens next. This overshoot can last for a while, or it can end abruptly.

    As we manage our investment strategies, we will let our indicators, backed by decades of data as outlined in our award winning papers, guide us in our portfolio positioning. Caution is warranted for those investing based on pundit opinions and existing narrative.

    The crowd is often right on average, but wrong at the extremes. Those extremes happen when everyone looks into the same crystal ball.

    Michael A. Gayed CFA
    [Portfolio Manager]


  10. The Markets (as of market close November 30, 2016)

    The economy picked up the pace in November, as did the stock market. After getting off to a sluggish start during the early part of the month, equities soared following the results of the presidential election. Each of the indexes listed here reached record highs during the month. The Russell 2000 posted the largest monthly gain, reaching double digits.

    Energy stocks jumped at the end of the month following OPEC’s agreement to cut production. Investors seemed willing to sell bonds and buy stocks as evidenced by the yield on 10-year Treasuries, which jumped 56 basis points by the end of the month and now exceeds their 2015 closing yield. Gold lost value, closing November at $1,174.80, down $103 from its October closing value of $1,277.80.

    Michael Green

    [Registered Investment Advisor]


  11. Market Week: December 26, 2016

    The Dow reached its seventh consecutive week of gains as it nears 20000. As it stood at the close of last week, the Dow was about 66 points away from that milestone. During a slow week of trading leading up to the holidays, each of the indexes listed here closed on the positive side except for the Global Dow, which lost about 6 points (0.23%). For the first time in several weeks, the yield on 10-year Treasuries narrowed as bond prices kicked up a bit.

    The price of crude oil (WTI) increased last week, closing at $53.10 per barrel, up from the prior week’s closing price of $52.03 per barrel. Gold (COMEX) remained volatile as its price fell again last week, closing at $1,133.30 by late Friday afternoon, down from the prior week’s price of $1,136.80. The national average retail regular gasoline price increased to $2.264 per gallon on December 19, 2016, $0.028 more than last week’s price and $0.238 higher than a year ago.

    Michael Green
    [Registered Investment Advisor]


  12. THE Dow:

    It’s a collection of 30 “blue-chip” U.S. stocks. Blue chip = big, established companies like Microsoft, JPMorgan, Disney, and McDonald’s. It’s often criticized for a funky weighting system and a small sample size (the S&P has more than 500 companies), but the 124-year-old index still holds a symbolic grip over Wall Street.

    And that’s exactly how professional investors view the Dow at 30k: symbolic, nothing more. The number could get some individual investors excited, but from a technical POV, it’s just another data point within the broader market rally.



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: