If someone tells you it's a "bull market" then the good times are here. It means that asset prices are rising and the prospects of it continuing are good.
A bull market or one that's described as bullish is "on the rise", with prices heading upwards and traders brimming with confidence about investing. The term "Bull" began in the traditional asset markets and it's also used to refer to buoyant cryptocurrency markets too, though due to their differing natures it's used with different frequencies depending on which one you are talking about.
The thing is, even a volatile traditional stock market doesn't often see the magnitude of price movements that a cryptocurrency market will, so it takes much bigger price swings before a crypto trader will call it a bull market. A crypto market can rise by as much as 40% in 48 hours, while a traditional market may not see that kind of rise in years.
So, when investors are optimistic and prices are consistently heading upwards, it's called a bull market, and the factors that usually influence such rises include GDP and stable employment figures. That's because when traders feel that the economy has good foundations, investors will be happier to invest. But in the crypto space, such fundamental influences don't have as much sway over prices or risk appetite.
Analysts never really know for sure if there's a bull market on the way, and they only find out after it happens. They usually call it a bull market when they see a 20% increase in prices, but they can't predict when it's going to happen. Traders and analysts do spend time looking for the signals though using technical analysis indicators such as Moving Averages (MAs), the Moving Average Convergence Divergence (MACD), the Relative Strength Index (RSI), and the On-Balance-Volume (OBV).
Bear and Bull Markets
Bear markets are the opposite of bull markets. A falling market is described as bearish, and once this trend takes hold everyone tends to get on board in a kind of mutually reinforcing frenzy of pessimism.
This is particularly evident if we look back through history. The experts say that in the US there were somewhere between 25 bull and 25 bear markets between 1929 and 2014. The average bear market dropped 35%, and the average bull market gained around 104%.