This is similar to a chart I saw earlier from Bespoke Investment Group.

It looks a lot like a chart I posted in December, 2007. A lot like it. Bear markets start slowly, usually with little drama. If this is a bear market starting, it fits the bill of slowly but there has been some drama where some>little but I wouldn't describe the last couple of months as a panic even if panic was evident during a few random days like February 5th.

I am typically inclined to lean toward a bear market starting because of my focus on trying to protect clients from the full brunt of a bear market. The 200 day moving average for the S&P 500 has been tested a few times and we are now close to another test but not quite there yet. We also need to start paying closer attention to the 2% rule (an average 2% decline three months in a row). February was down 3.8%, March was down 2.54% and April is down a couple of basis points as I write this but still with a few days to go.

Thinking the risk that a bear market coming has increased is not a call to change investment process. No matter what I think, I will not take defensive action until the SPX breaches its 200 DMA (first trade placed if it looks like it will close below for a second day) or if the 2% rule comes into play. I would heed an inverted yield curve but that is not immediately on the table.

It is important to avoid emotional responses to this sort of thing. Whatever your process is, just stick to it. I certainly am not rooting for a bear market like some folks appear to, I just want to be ready to take action is the likelihood increases to the point where the indicators I trust are triggered.