A bear market is an extended period of time where investment security prices are generally declining. Most commonly, the term bear market describes a negative environment for stocks but the term can also refer to other investment securities, such as bonds or commodities.
The duration of a bear market is the length of time that the period of generally declining prices lasts. Historically bear market durations have ranged from approximately 3 months up to more than 3 years. Most bear market durations are longer than 1 year but shorter than 2 years.
See also bull market.