This morning, I made note of the difference between secular bull and bear markets. I described secular bear markets as being longer-term, characterized by strong rallies, vicious sell-offs and earnings contractions.

Secular bull markets include an investor willingness to pay more and more for the same dollar of earnings even as stock prices rise. (I’ll revisit this issue next week.) The simplest way to think of secular markets is as longer eras driven by overriding dynamics that define the period ether positively or negatively.

Source: Raymond James
Source: Raymond James

As this chart from Jeff Saut of Raymond James shows, secular bull markets tend to have a strong uptrend over periods lasting a decade or two. The secular bear markets don’t make much progress over time but are highly volatile markets.

Note the green beginnings of a secular bull market to the extreme right of the chart. If Saut is correct, this bull rally could continue to see gains for another decade or so. It doesn’t imply that there won't be regular corrections, but rather, investors should treat pullbacks opportunistically and should give the market the benefit of the doubt.

I was a big bear in the mid-2000s, and I turned more constructive after the crash. However, I have slowly been inching into Saut’s camp over the past year.

To contact the author of this article: Barry Ritholtz at britholtz3@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this article: Kirsten Salyer at ksalyer@bloomberg.net.