"Secular" Bear Market; OT: Mastercard Moments

James A. Landau JJJRLandau at AOL.COM
Mon Jul 15 22:44:52 UTC 2002

In a message dated 07/15/2002 5:42:23 PM Eastern Daylight Time,
Bapopik at AOL.COM writes:

>     I'm losing my religion!
>     From THE WALL STREET JOURNAL EUROPE, 15 July 2002, pg. M1, col. 6:
>  _U.S. Bear Market_
>  _Could Last Years,_
>  _Some Predict_
>  (...)
>     If so, stocks could be in the midst of a longer period of sluggishness--
> what some analysts call a "secular" bear market--schacterized by brief and
> frustrating rallies, after which stock gains are wiped out by repeated
> pullbacks.

"Secular" meaning "Of a fluctuation or trend: Occurring or persisting over an
unlimited period, not periodic or short-term" (OED2, def 8) is a term of long
standing in economics and statistics---the OED's first citation of this sense
is 1895.  It comes from the same Latin word as "secular" meaning "wordly, not
sacred" but the latter meaning is the one that diverged, since the Latin word
"saeculum" meant "generation" (compare modern French "siecle"="century").

The antonym is "periodic" or "short-term" (thank you, OED).

The quotation uses the word correctly.  It predicts a bear market that will
continue over a long time but that will not necessarily be continuous---there
may be "brief...rallies" but the overall trend will be bearish.

If you had studied engineering instead of law, you'd know things like this.

> Flying over here, I sat in a row of four seats.  The other three seats were
taken by
> a woman with two young children.  The flight attendant come over and asked
> my son.  I told her otherwise.  And then, later, she beamed about my son

If you had been acting lovey-dovey towards the woman, the flight attendant
would have concluded, correctly, that the two of you were NOT married,
despite the presence of the children.  It was the fact that you were
apparently taken her for granted that clued the attendant (in this case
incorrectly) that you were married.  It happens all the time.  In fact, not
even OT, since it is a form of non-verbal communication.

What you should have done was to put your arm around the boy and say in a
proud tone, "He looks just like the milkman."  The flight attendant would
have left you alone
for the rest of the trip.

    - James A. Landau
      systems engineer
      FAA Tech Center (ACB-510/BCI)
      Atlantic City Int'l Airport NJ 08405 USA

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