Dateline St Pete Beach, Fl, Friday, January 25, 2008. I’m here at the annual Market Technicians Association winter retreat in my new favorite hotel, the Don CeSar, overlooking the Gulf of Mexico. Judging from the comments of the pros I really respect, this is a bear market in stocks and that means that whatever is happening now is just a speed bump in the forest for the bears. divbr //divdivHow far down will it go?  I won’t get into predictions here as paying subscribers would have my head. But let’s just says that this is no time to “scoop up bargains” to lock away in your safe deposit box. Play the long side if you like but as Scar said to his hoards of Hyenas, “Be prepared.”/divdivbr //divdivThose of you without kids in the middle and high school age ranges, forget the pop culture reference. The point is that just because all the indicators look good does not mean it s going to keep going up. Bear market bounces are always exciting – until they fail./divdivbr //divdivHere is one tidbit I can share – precious metals are hot while base metals are not. That the latter has not collapsed tells us something positive about the economy so don’t put me in the doom and gloom camp. I write about stocks, not the economy. When all is said and done I will be there ready to buy with both fists again.  Just not now. /div