Citi thinks it might be time to start out shopping for shares once more, as its bear market mannequin alerts that situations are enhancing. The financial institution’s “bear market guidelines,” or BMC — which appears at a broad vary of potential indicators for a market downturn, together with valuation, credit score spreads, M & A exercise and fund flows — is at the moment elevating six of 18 attainable pink flags. That is down from 8.5 flags on the finish of final yr. Robert Buckland, Citi’s chief international fairness strategist, famous that shares have traditionally risen when the variety of pink flags comes down. “Shopping for when the BMC falls to the present 6/18 pink flags has generated wholesome 12-month beneficial properties (common +31%), even in multiyear bear markets,” Buckland wrote in a word to shoppers Thursday. Among the pink flags which are nonetheless displaying up on the guidelines are return on fairness, a flattish yield curve and excessive analyst bullishness. The S & P 500 has misplaced greater than 16% to this point this yr, via Wednesday’s shut, and briefly dipped into an intraday bear market final week, as considerations over rising inflation and tighter financial coverage have led traders to dump riskier belongings. The bear market mannequin final flashed a buy-the-dip sign in February 2020 — on the onset of the Covid pandemic — when 5.5 of 18 flags have been raised. The market bottomed in March 2020, then set off on a blistering rally that finally carried it to file ranges as just lately as early January. “Even when the BMC does miss out on some elements, we might nonetheless count on an unsustainable international market peak to be accompanied by greater than the 8.5/18 pink flags skilled final December. As well as, we’re reassured by the autumn to six/18 and the wholesome 12m beneficial properties generated by shopping for at these ranges prior to now,” Buckland mentioned. “It’s a courageous name, however the BMC has made its title via making courageous calls. It needs to purchase this dip.” Backside line: The market has been below stress for a bunch of causes, together with excessive inflation, rising rates of interest, the struggle in Ukraine and Covid lockdowns in China. But when Citi’s bear market guidelines is appropriate, then market situations have began to enhance — and traders might wish to begin nibbling at shares as soon as once more. — CNBC’s Michael Bloom contributed reporting .