This column was originally published on RealMoney on July 14 at 2:03 p.m. EDT. It's being republished as a bonus for TheStreet.com readers.Commentators have been blaming the messy market action on violence in the Middle East, terrorism, oil, the Federal Reserve, the weather and any other news event that comes along. Here is what you need to know as an investor: The current action has classic bear market characteristics -- don't let anyone tell you anything different. You won't hear this type of talk from the media until the S&P 500 is down at least 20%. My responsibility to my readers is to cut through all the garbage out there, all the short-term predictions, and give you a clear-cut view of the condition of the market so you can protect your capital. If we do that effectively, the profits will follow. I'll acknowledge that we are so oversold and negative that we are due for another sharp bounce. But in bear markets, quick bounces are opportunities to continue to raise cash. When we get a real turn in the market, we will have plenty of time to reposition on the long side. Bull markets don't last for a few weeks -- they last for months and years. When we are close to a bottom, the market will start to refuse to go down, or go up on negative news. You will also start to see better advance/decline numbers. Then you will have a sustainable bottom.
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