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Asian shares mixed as Wall Street hovers near bear market

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By ELAINE KURTENBACH

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Wall Street dipped once again to the edge of a bear market.

Bear market. Analytic? Or state of mind?

Your choice.

As the WSJ points out, equities enter a bear market when widely followed indexes sink 20% from their high points. But there is nothing official about that. So, no sirens and lights. And it is an arbitrary number; Much like 10% is widely considered a correction. Depending on who you ask, there have been between 8 and 25 bears over the past century, lasting anywhere between 10 and 57 months.

The other kind is mindfulness. When a bear market means investors are more risk-averse than risk-seeking. Speculation is avoided in favor of stability and security.

Some investors want to try to “beat” the markets, purchasing and selling individual stocks based on the current action, hoping that the market – or select sectors – are experiencing dips that are buying opportunities. Or that the market – or select sectors - have reached bottom. And that they must act to get in before the eventual rebound.

But what happens when you can’t easily touch bottom? Let alone see the bottom? Still want to dive in? It is helpful to ask yourself: Do you see a reasonable likelihood that you will need to dig into your investments for cash over the next few years?

Thomas Jefferson once said, "I'm a great believer in luck, and I find the harder I work the more I have of it."

Good luck!

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