I recently chatted with veteran technical analyst Ralph Acampora, a director at Geneva-based Altaira Ltd., about secular bull trends in the U.S. stock market. A real secular bull market can last decades, and he sees this equity market uptrend as similar to the long-term bull markets in the 1960′s and, more obviously on technical charts, the 1990′s. He pointed out that bull-and-bear trend measures and other short-term sentiment readings can change week to week, confusing some participants about the market’s longer-term path. Acampora laid out the psychology behind sentiment in a secular bull market, which has three long phases. It starts with fear of the bear market at the stock market’s bottom. At the March 2009 low, everyone was worried about further declines and losing money. The mood was characterized by fear and disbelief. In reaction, the first buyers in a classic bull market gravitate toward quality stocks. They lead equities higher, because no one wants to take risk. Investors say, “I’ll never do that again,” about buying junk. They only want high quality, high-yielding stocks. That’s Phase 1. It began in 2009 and lasted until now.