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As global markets swooned yesterday, the question of the hour has to be, “Is the bear back?”

Many indicators would answer “yes” to that question and in a moment we’ll take a look at some of the major factors at work in Thursday’s volatile markets.

In spite of the possible return of the bear, we had a good day today at Wall Street Sector Selector as we remain in the “Red Flag Flying” mode, expecting lower prices ahead.

Our portfolios year to date stand as follows:

Sector Selector Option Master: +73.3%

Sector Selector Standard: +14.4%

Sector Selector 2X: -4.0%

Yesterday was a total wipeout as a global stock market rout rolled around the world in response to the ongoing crisis in Europe and declining confidence worldwide. Today’s drop in the Dow was its largest one day decline since March 5, 2009, just before the now infamous “March lows” and bigger than last week’s “flash crash.”

Overseas the bungling bureaucrats in Europe continued to struggle with the crisis of the plunging Euro and were once more unable to get in front of this problem in spite of reportedly significant central bank intervention.

At home, new jobless claims jumped unexpectedly, April leading economic indicators declined and there are growing signs of a worsening credit crunch as interbank lending rates continue to rise.

The S&P 500 is now in official “correction” territory, down -11% from recent highs, and more ominously, has now closed below its 200 Day Moving Average which is widely viewed as the demarcation line between bull and bear markets. If it’s unable to recover above the 200 Day Moving Average, even lower prices could be expected.

Friday is options expirations day which oftentimes brings even increased volatility and so it should be an interesting end to an interesting week.

Disclosure: Author owns VXX, EFZ, EEV, S&P Put Option

Source: Is the Bear Back?