5 ways to know if the bull is over

Before it keels over, a bull market typically leaves a few road signs. Here's what to keep an eye on - from Money Magazine.

Consumer spending
Consumer spending
Before a bear: Consumer spending sometimes slows
Happened yet? Starting

It stands to reason that when people stop buying stuff, the stock market - populated with companies that sell stuff - heads south. All the major dips in consumer spending over the past 30-plus years have taken place as stocks were just beginning to slide or during prolonged declines.

The tricky part: Measurable drops in consumer spending often occur after the market has already started falling - making it a less than perfect indicator.

It's still important to watch, though, because experts say that slumping consumer spending could help turn what otherwise might have been a mere correction into a true bear.

So far this decade, consumers have been spending away happily - until recently. Retail sales fell 0.9% in June, bad news for companies like Home Depot, Macy's and Sears. And if housing prices continue to drop in many parts of the country, consumers will clutch their pocketbooks still tighter.

Brian Stine, an investment strategist with Allegiant Asset Management Co., a firm that oversees about $30 billion in assets, says, "It could dramatically curb spending and even employment growth." Neither would be good.

Outlook Oil prices Treasury yields Number of rising stocks Consumer spending Corporate earnings growth
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Market indexes are shown in real time, except for the DJIA, which is delayed by two minutes. All times are ET. Disclaimer LIBOR Warning: Neither BBA Enterprises Limited, nor the BBA LIBOR Contributor Banks, nor Reuters, can be held liable for any irregularity or inaccuracy of BBA LIBOR. Disclaimer. Morningstar: © 2014 Morningstar, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Disclaimer The Dow Jones IndexesSM are proprietary to and distributed by Dow Jones & Company, Inc. and have been licensed for use. All content of the Dow Jones IndexesSM © 2014 is proprietary to Dow Jones & Company, Inc. Chicago Mercantile Association. The market data is the property of Chicago Mercantile Exchange Inc. and its licensors. All rights reserved. FactSet Research Systems Inc. 2014. All rights reserved. Most stock quote data provided by BATS.