A market pause? Or the start of a bigger downturn? That's the question most investors are asking themselves after global equities dropped around 5 percent over the past two weeks on worries the Federal Reserve might curtail its quantitative easing (QE) program this year.
The views have so divided investors that even two men who share the moniker of Dr. Doom couldn't agree on the way forward.
Nouriel Roubini, the bearish economist who called the financial crash of 2008 now says stock markets will rise for the next two years and that worries about the Fed tapering quantitative easing were premature.
But Marc Faber, also known as Dr. Doom, says although further stock market gains were likely, those gains should not be trusted by investors.
"I think the market is actually quite vulnerable. I think the market is rolling over," he said, pointing to the sharp drop in some international markets in recent weeks.
"If someone put a gun on my head and said 'you have to be long or short,' I would take the short side."
But that hasn't scared off U.S. investors from continuing to pile into equities. For the first five months of this year, a total of $74 billion flowed into equity mutual funds, according to data from the Investment Company Institute.
One reason has been the relatively low rate of return on other asset classes. Real rates (returns after subtracting for inflation) are still negative for most bonds given the zero or near-zero interest rates and the huge bond buying programs unveiled by major central banks in recent years.
(Read More: Market Pullback Could Finally Be at Hand)
That phenomenon known as "financial repression" punishes savers, while easing the burden of under-water debtors. It has also led to near record corporate debt issuance.