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Lección 16: Mercado bajista

Lección 16: Mercado bajista

Los traders pueden operar en mercados bajistas utilizando instrumentos derivados como los CFDs. Dado que estos pueden conllevar riesgos, se aconseja crear una estrategia de trading para ello

El miedo a un mercado bajista siempre está cerca. Cuando el mercado empieza a caer, algunos inversores entran en pánico. Pero existen distintas maneras de aprovechar la caída de los precios de los activos, por tanto, no hay necesidad de hacer algún movimiento por pánico. Mantén la calma y aprende a operar en un mercado bajista.

Cómo utilizar esta guía

  1. Comprende la anatomía de un mercado bajista: Analizamos las tres etapas de los mercados bajistas primarios y las señales a las que hay que prestar atención que indican el comienzo de una caída.
  2. Aprende a invertir en un mercado bajista: Hay una gran variedad de formas en las que tanto los inversores como los traders pueden especular con las caídas del mercado o, como mínimo, proteger sus activos.
  3. Crea una cuenta e inicia sesión: Rellena nuestro sencillo formulario y busca el mercado con el que deseas operar en nuestra plataforma de trading. Con CAPEX.com, puedes operar en un mercado bajista, especulando con los movimientos de los precios a través de CFDs.

¿Qué es un mercado bajista?

Un mercado bajista se utiliza generalmente para describir un mercado descendente. Pero en concreto, es un mercado que ha caído un 20% o más desde un máximo anterior, y que dura un largo periodo de tiempo (normalmente dos meses o incluso más). Se produce cuando el número de vendedores supera al de compradores, lo que provoca un sentimiento pesimista en el mercado.

Suele referirse al mercado en general o a un índice, pero también puede decirse que las acciones individuales o las materias primas experimentan un mercado bajista.

Por ejemplo, el USA500 entró en un mercado bajista en junio de 2022, cuando cayó más de un 20% desde su máximo histórico alcanzado en enero de 2022.

Mercado bajista 2022
Fuente: Capex WebTrader

Un mercado bajista también puede utilizarse para describir acciones o materias primas cuyos precios han caído más de un 20% desde su máximo más reciente. Por ejemplo, Bitcoin entró en un mercado bajista en noviembre de 2021 tras caer más de un 20% desde su último máximo histórico

Mercado bajista cripto
Fuente: Capex WebTrader

Algunos inversores que quieren mitigar el impacto de estas caídas del mercado pueden optar por cubrir su cartera de acciones. Pero esta estrategia depende del apetito por el riesgo y del capital disponible, ya que implica la apertura de múltiples posiciones.

Para los traders, los mercados bajistas pueden ofrecer grandes oportunidades de beneficio, ya que los productos derivados les permitirán especular con los mercados al alza y a la baja. Al utilizar productos derivados, puedes abrir una posición en valores sin necesidad de poseer el activo subyacente.

¿Quieres saber más sobre el trading? Descubre las distintas formas de operar con CAPEX.com.

Cómo identificar mercados bajistas

Antes de empezar a operar en los mercados bajistas, es importante saber a qué señales hay que prestar atención para indicar el comienzo de una caída. Entre ellas se encuentran:

  • Repuntes fallidos del mercado. La señal más común de que un mercado bajista es inminente es una tendencia alcista que no gana ninguna tracción. Esto significa que los alcistas o los bulls están perdiendo el control del mercado.
  • Declive económico. Cuando la economía en su conjunto comienza a contraerse -lo que se manifiesta en el aumento del desempleo, los altos niveles de inflación y las quiebras bancarias-, suele ser una señal de que el mercado bursátil también sufrirá un descenso.
  • Subida de los tipos de interés. Cuando los tipos de interés suben, los consumidores y las empresas recortan el gasto, lo que hace que los beneficios disminuyan y los precios de las acciones bajen.
  • Las acciones defensivas empiezan a tener un rendimiento superior. Cuando las empresas dedicadas al suministro de productos básicos de consumo empiezan a tener un rendimiento superior al de otros sectores, suele considerarse una señal de que un periodo de crecimiento económico ha terminado porque los consumidores están recortando el gasto en los artículos innecesarios.

Las tres etapas de los mercados bajistas

Un mercado bajista se define como un descenso prolongado y sostenido marcado por el deterioro de las condiciones empresariales y la consiguiente disminución de la demanda de acciones en los mercados bursátiles. Al igual que ocurre con los mercados alcistas, un mercado bajista tendrá movimientos secundarios contrarios a la tendencia principal.

Etapa 1 - Distribución

Así como la acumulación es el sello de la primera etapa de un mercado alcista primario, la distribución marca el comienzo de un mercado bajista. A medida que el "dinero inteligente" empieza a darse cuenta de que las condiciones empresariales no son tan buenas como se pensaba, comienza a vender acciones.

Durante esta fase, el público sigue participando en el mercado y está dispuesto a comprar. Los titulares de prensa no indican que se esté produciendo un mercado bajista y las condiciones empresariales generales siguen siendo buenas. Sin embargo, las acciones empiezan a perder un poco de brillo y el declive comienza a afianzarse.

Aunque el mercado desciende, no se cree que haya comenzado un mercado bajista y la mayoría de los pronósticos siguen siendo alcistas. Tras un descenso moderado, se produce un repunte de reacción que recupera una parte del descenso. Según la teoría de Dow, los repuntes de reacción durante los mercados bajistas son bastante rápidos y bruscos: un gran porcentaje de las pérdidas se recuperaría en cuestión de días o quizás semanas.

Este movimiento rápido y repentino animaría a los alcistas o bulls a proclamar que el mercado alcista está vivo y en buen estado. Sin embargo, se formaría un máximo a la reacción del movimiento secundario y sería más bajo que el máximo anterior. Tras hacer un máximo inferior, una ruptura por debajo del mínimo anterior confirmaría que se trata de la primera fase de un mercado bajista.

Lo primero que viene a la mente de los inversores en esta situación es que estamos ante el mercado bajista de 2008-2009 -donde el índice S&P 500 perdió un 58%- y el mercado bajista de 2000-2002 -donde el S&P 500 perdió un 53%-. Ambos son más del doble de la caída actual.

Fase de distribución en el mercado bajista de 2000-2002
Mercado Bajista 2000-2002 - Fase de distribución (Fuente: TradingView)
Mercado bajista 2008
Mercado Bajista 2008-2009 - Fase de distribución (Fuente: TradingView)
Fase de distribución en el mercado bajista de 2022
Mercado Bajista 2022 - Fase de distribución (Fuente: TradingView)

En los 3 gráficos anteriores, vemos cómo los 3 periodos (incluyendo el actual mercado bajista) tienen varias similitudes, pero nunca trayectorias idénticas.

Sin embargo, desde una perspectiva macroeconómica, la situación era completamente diferente, ya que todo el sistema financiero corría un grave riesgo de colapso. Ahora, a pesar de los numerosos vientos en contra, los riesgos se inclinan más hacia una recesión mundial.

Etapa 2 - Pánico

Al igual que con el mercado alcista primario, en la segunda etapa de un mercado bajista primario se produce el mayor movimiento. Es cuando la tendencia se ha identificado como bajista y las condiciones empresariales comienzan a deteriorarse. Las estimaciones de beneficios se reducen, se producen déficits, los márgenes de beneficio se reducen y los ingresos caen. A medida que las condiciones empresariales empeoran, las ventas masivas continúan.

Una vez más, observamos los mercados bajistas anteriores y destacamos la fase de pánico.

Bear Market Panic 2000-2002
Mercado Bajista 2000-2002 - Etapa de pánico (Fuente: TradingView)
Mercado Bajista 2008-2009 - Etapa de pánico (Fuente: TradingView)
2022 Bear Market panic
Mercado Bajista 2022 - Etapa de pánico (Fuente: TradingView)

The 2022 bear market entered the panic stage that should be confirmed by a space between the next lower high and the previous low.

Stage 3 - Despair

At the top of a primary bull market, hope springs eternal and excess is the order of the day. By the final stage of a bear market, all hope is lost and stocks are frowned upon. Valuations are low, but the selling continues as participants seek to sell no matter what. The news from corporate America is bad, the economic outlook is bleak, and not a buyer is to be found. The market will continue to decline until all the bad news is fully priced into stocks. Once stocks fully reflect the worst possible outcome, the cycle begins again.

2000-2002 Bear Market - Panic Stage
2000-2002 Bear Market - Despair Stage (Source: TradingView)
2008-2009 Bear Market - Panic Stage
2008-2009 Bear Market - Despair Stage (Source: TradingView)

Bear market trading strategies

There are a variety of ways that both investors and traders can speculate about market downturns, or at the very least, protect their existing holdings from unnecessary losses.

When deciding on a trading strategy for a bear market, a major decision is which type of trading vehicle should be used: contracts for difference (CFDs), futures, or options. A CFD is a popular form of derivative trading that allows a trader to speculate on an asset by going short during a bear market. It is an agreement between the trader and the CFD provider to pay each other the difference between the opening and closing prices of a financial instrument. CFDs allow traders to gain exposure to an asset without having to own the underlying asset. CFDs are often leveraged, which allows traders to hold larger positions than the actual value of the amount they invest to open the trade. Remember that leveraged products, such as CFDs, magnify your potential profit – but also your potential loss.

Open a demo account to start practicing trading with CFDs in a bear market.

“Short” Trading Strategies

As the saying goes, ‘the trend is your friend’. Short-selling is a way in which you can follow the directional momentum in a bear market – you’d take a sell position (go short), by speculating on falling market prices. If your prediction pans out, you’ll make a profit. But even in bear markets, prices can move either way. So, you’ll incur a loss if the price action moves against your position.

Shares

When shorting a stock via a traditional method, traders borrow shares they do not own. These shares are usually lent from their financial broker and sell the borrowed shares at market value. The trader aims to repurchase the same shares at a lower price and return the shares to the lender. This is typically a practice of large institutions rather than individual investors, but some brokers will facilitate short selling.

With CFDs, you can go long and short on a variety of different markets. In this situation, the key is to identify the cause of a bear market and find stocks that are heavily exposed to it. For example, in the coronavirus-led bear market of 2020, travel stocks were hit the hardest due to countries locking down their borders. Airlines were hit the hardest.

With us, you can also trade a basket of shares with a single click. Share baskets are mini portfolios of stocks built around a specific theme such as meme stocks, social media stocks, EV stocks, and many other ThematiX.

ETFs

Exchange-traded funds (ETFs) are marketable securities that track a basket of securities, a stock market index, bond, or commodity. ETF trading usually has more liquidity and lower fees than mutual funds, making them a popular choice for traders wanting to short a bear market.

Indices

Shorting a market index such as the S&P 500 is a popular choice with traders as this index represents a basket of underlying stocks. Their popularity is founded in their accessibility for most traders as well as their technical and highly tradeable trends. Some traders prefer to target the underlying stocks themselves. Investors use indices to hedge their portfolios during a bear market.

“Long” Trading Strategies

A safe-haven asset is a financial instrument that typically retains its value – or even increases in value – while the broader market declines. These assets are negatively correlated with the economy, which means that they are often used by investors and traders for refuge during a bear market.

In theory, you would take a long position on a safe haven, in order to prepare for market downturns. This is seen as an alternative to closing positions or going short, as it enables you to hedge any existing holdings.

Popular safe havens can change over time, so it is important to keep up with investment trends. However, there are a few safe havens that have remained favorites over the years, including:

Gold

Many consider the decision to buy gold a behavioral bias, based on gold’s history of backing currencies and as a store of value. The theory goes that because gold has historically been considered a safe haven when there are signs of a significant market collapse, investors swarm to the precious metal. Gold as a safe haven has become a self-fulfilling prophecy.

The most popular ways to invest in gold and gold-related assets are through:

Currencies

Safe haven or safety currencies depreciate in times of optimism and appreciate in times of pessimism like other safety assets that are in demand when markets are fearful, such as investment-grade bonds.

These are:

  • US Dollar: For over 50 years, the US dollar has been one of the most popular safe havens during economic downturns. It exhibits several safe-haven characteristics – most crucially, it is the most liquid currency on the forex market.
  • Japanese Yen: The yen earned its reputation as a safe haven due to Japan’s high trade surplus versus its debt. The value of foreign assets held by Japanese investors is far higher than Japanese assets owned by foreign investors – this means that when markets become ‘risk off’, money moves out of other currencies and back into domestic markets, which strengthens the yen.
  • Swiss Franc: A study by the central bank of Germany, Deutsche Bundesbank, found that the Swiss franc often appreciated when the global stock market showed signs of financial stress. Common reasons that investors favor the Swiss franc as a safe-haven currency include the political neutrality of the Swiss government, the strong Swiss economy, and its developed banking sector.

Government bonds

Government bonds are a fixed-term ‘I owe you’ from a government, which have periodic interest payments – treasury bills and notes are a type of bond. The only difference between them is the amount of time before you will be reimbursed in full. Treasury bills have maturities of a year or less, while treasury bonds can have maturities of ten years or more.

Investors tend to have more confidence in bonds issued by governments of developed economies – the most popular are:

>> Learn how to trade Bonds

Defensive Stocks

Investors will often seek to diversify their portfolios by including defensive stocks. These are the shares of companies that are perceived as consumer staples, so their products are needed regardless of the state of the economy. These can include food and beverage producers and utility companies.

When an economy is doing well, investment tends to flow into ‘cyclical stocks’, which are the companies that produce non-essential items. Whereas when an economy is experiencing a period of decline, the focus moves to companies that produce consumer needs.

Like safe havens, investors tend to start piling into defensive stocks when bearish sentiment emerges. Traders can also monitor defensive stocks as a way of identifying when the market experiences a change in mood, using the companies as an indicator of the health of the broader stock market. These includes:

*Please note that no investment is 100% "safe” as every type of asset comes with its own risk. Popular safe havens can change over time, so it is important to keep up with investment trends.

How to weather a bear market

All traders need to set up an effective risk-management strategy in order to minimize risk if the markets go against them. This is less of a problem in a bull market when there are likely to be opportunities to recoup former losses by buying security as it is revalued higher. But trading in a bear market can be more difficult. To keep your head when everyone in the financial market is stampeding towards the exits requires the ability to be decisive and act quickly. And this must be backed up by a solid understanding of the technical resources that are available to help manage your trading account.

The standard trade management tools apply in a bear market. That means ensuring appropriate trade execution orders have been used. A stop-entry order is simply an order to buy or sell a security when its price moves past a particular point. A limit entry order can help to diversify a trader's game plan by making it possible to short into rallies in a bear market. These orders bring some predictability to a trading strategy by making sure trades are executed at a predefined price. Some traders prefer to take more active control of their accounts and not to be automatically taken out of their position.

Stop-loss orders are a useful tool to close an open trade that is going against you at a predefined price level to limit the loss of capital. However, markets can move fast, and this is often the case when they turn bearish. Bear markets don't head down continuously – prices may pull back from time to time. This means traders may risk being stopped out when the market was simply consolidating, rather than making a fundamental shift.

Traders aren’t always guaranteed to get closed out at the price they set their stop-loss orders at, which is known as slippage. The faster the market moves, the greater this slippage can be. To circumvent this, you might choose to trade an option with a strike price where a stop-loss would have been located. This could allow you more time to evaluate whether you are truly in a losing position.

Final words on bear market

Traders increase their probabilities of trading market trends by having a stringent trading strategy and capital management plan. This applies equally when trading both bull and bear markets. There are some important aspects worth considering when attempting to trade a bear market.

  • A bear market can move rapidly so it is wise to choose trades cautiously and manage risk appropriately. During bear markets, it is possible for investors to be successful by seeking out and buying good value stock portfolio propositions during a falling market. Dividend stocks in a bear market may still pay healthy dividends or can be sold later if they recover their value.
  • Traders need a range of investment strategies to manage their risk/reward ratios. This includes various forms of trading (CFDs, futures, options) for speculation or hedging purposes. CFDs allow a trader to speculate on an asset (stock, ETF, or index) by going short during a bear market.

Free trading tools and resources

Remember, you should have some trading experience and knowledge before you decide to trade a bear market. You should consider using the educational resources we offer likeCAPEX Academyor ademo trading account. CAPEX Academy has lots of courses for you to choose from, and they all tackle a different financial concept or process – like the basics of analyses – to help you to become a better trader.

Our demo account is a great place for you to learn more about leveraged trading, and you’ll be able to get an intimate understanding of how CFDs work – as well as what it’s like to trade with leverage – before risking real capital. For this reason, a demo account with us is a great tool for investors who are looking to make a transition to leveraged trading.

Bear Market FAQs

How long do bear markets last?

The average bear market lasts 359 days, and history shows that it can take a full 38 months to go from the bottom of a bear market to a new all-time high.

What's the difference between a bear market and a recession?

A bear market describes a period of trending downward stock prices, often as a result of negative investor sentiment. However, a recession can be defined as poor economic health that is monitored over at least two consecutive quarters of the financial year, often measured through the gross domestic product (GDP).

Bear markets can often lead to or go alongside an economic recession, although they can also provide trading opportunities for investors.

How frequent are bear markets?

One of the major characteristics of a bear market is that it is usually influenced by widespread investor fear over the outlook for an economy. This fear leads to panic selling, which causes large drops and spikes in price movements. These periods are often fraught with scare-mongering in the press as market proponents predict financial conflict. As such, bear markets tend to feed themselves and become, to an extent, self-perpetuating.

Since 1990, there have been two major bear markets that were both two years in duration. Although price movements were more volatile and severe than the preceding bull markets, they did come to an end. This in turn gave rise to the next bull market that would then run on further and longer than the last.

What are the different types of bear markets?

There are three types of bear markets – they're classifications of what brought the downward-trending prices on.

  • Cyclical: a cyclical bear market is set off by rising interest rates and high inflation rates at the end of a business cycle
  • Structural: a structural bear market occurs when a financial bubble or other economic imbalance collapses, for example, the global financial crisis
  • Event-driven: as the name suggests, an event-driven bear market is caused by a specific, significant event, for example, Covid-19

Bear market vs economic recession: what’s the difference?

Bear markets are closely associated with economic recessions as either tends to trigger the other. Plus, they are similar in several other ways. Still, they differ fundamentally.

  • Bear market: a period of a continuing decline in the prices of a market
  • Economic recession: a general decline in economic performance, often signified by two consecutive quarters with negative growth or reduction in the gross domestic product (GDP).

The intrinsic link between these concepts is evident in factors such as their causes and effects, for example, geopolitical crises, pandemics, investor sentiments, and consumer spending.

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