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The rolling bear market

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The rolling bear market

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LONDON (Reuters) - The stock market bull has been running more or less since early-2009, with almost 200 percent in gains on world stocks at the start of 2018.

But ever since hitting record highs early in the year, several equity indexes have been undermined by a poisonous cocktail of rising interest rates, trade tensions, and currency crises in emerging markets.

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In fact, the bull has turned into a bear in several places: a growing number of equity indexes across the globe have slipped into 'bear' territory – commonly defined as a price drop of 20 percent or more from their highest levels in 52 weeks.

(Graphics of 'Index performance from 52-week highs and bear markets ' - https://tmsnrt.rs/2QKKYgS)

The share of bears by index is catching up all over the world too – from West to East, from developed to emerging markets. Korea's KOSPI Composite index <.KS11> - considered by some to be a bellwether for the global economy - recently dipped past the bear market threshold.

(Graphics of 'Major global indexes' - https://tmsnrt.rs/2QP4dpG)

In this interactive graphic https://tmsnrt.rs/2QCzyvm, Reuters shows the performance of an array of major stock indexes relative to their 52-week highs, as well as the share of index constituents in bear markets.

The graphic also shows the bull-bear spread: the gap between bullish and bearish sentiment surveys of individual American investors, which indicates how investors feel about the future direction of the market in the next 6 months.

(Graphics of 'Bull-bear spread' - https://tmsnrt.rs/2QLhbEz)

The gap as of November 2018 stands at a positive 3.5 percent, indicating that investors on balance feel that the market's prospects are positive. But this is the lowest read of net bullish sentiment since July 2017, indicating how sentiment has turned.

(Reporting by Ritvik Carvalho and Lea Desrayaud; Editing by Richard Balmforth)

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