The sharp sell-off at the end of 2018 resulted in the S&P 500 trading below its 50-week moving average (MA) for the first time since 2015.This is significant as the 50-week MA has been a reliable indicator of bull and bear markets. The long-term chart illustrated here goes back to 1998. Over that period, there have been six turning points from bull to bear markets and vice versa. The thinking is that a bull market is indicated by an upward sloping 50-week MA and a bear market by a downward sloping 50-week MA.You can see that the 50-week MA turned lower at the peak of the bull markets in 2000 and 2007. Similarly, the 50-week MA turned positive in 2003 and 2009 to indicate the start of new bull markets that ran for several years.In 2015 there was a brief blip where the 50-week MA turned negative, but that didn’t last long after the US Federal Reserve announced the continuation of aggressive stimulus measures for the US economy.The 20% sell-off witnessed on the S&P 500 at the end of 20...

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