Despite infamously reversing his bearish stance on stocks late last year only to be proven wrong, influential investor Dennis Gartman told CNBC that he believed that a bear market has "begun in earnest globally" this time.
Turmoil in Chinese stocks, a spike in gold and continued declines in oil markets are just some of the reasons to believe that a bear market has begun, according to Dennis Gartman, the editor and publisher of "The Gartman Letter"
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"You have to be less long of the capital markets," Gartman told CNBC Europe's "Squawk Box" Thursday. Investors could be forgiven for treating Gartman's latest call with caution.
In October, he reversed his bearish stance and said he was then bullish on stocks, only to be proven incorrect as market weakness continued amid uncertainty over the timing of a Federal Reserve hike in interest rates, which eventually occurred in December to little fanfare in stock markets.
In retrospect, Gartman conceded that he made the wrong call. "You have to admit when you're wrong sometimes…I made one bad mistake by reversing myself," he said. "I was wrong for a month but now it's time to be bearish."
"I wanted to believe that the bull market had continued but it appears now to me that the bull market ended back in late May of last year.I think now we're in a real bear market and you have to err bearishly upon stocks, exiting long positions and entering short positions."
Gartman's comments come amid turmoil on Chinese stockmarkets, where trading in shares was suspended for a second time this week after stocks dropped 7 percent, and continued uncertainty over the pace of Fed rate rises. Many market watchers believe there will be four more rate increases in 2016.
Fischer breeds confusion
There was confusion on Wednesday as to what extent foreign circumstances influence the Fed's decision over rate hikes after minutes.
While minutes from the last meeting of the Fed in December, published on Wednesday, repeatedly noted the influence of foreign circumstances on decision making, separately Fed Vice Chairman Stanley Fischer downplayed the direct effect of foreign events on the U.S. economy, during an interview with CNBC on Wednesday.
Gartman said Fischer's comments were "confusing in light of the minutes."
"The minutes of the FOMC meeting talked about foreign influences on the U.S. economy a myriad number of times so either Fischer is wrong or the minutes are wrong or we're all confused. The fact that the minutes spent that much time commenting on the foreign circumstances (and their effect on decision making) and then Fischer tries to downplay it confuses me."
Following the Fed's decision to increase its target funds rate for the first time since 2006, all eyes are on the first major piece of U.S. economic data since then: nonfarm payrolls numbers for December that are published on Friday.
Gartman expected a payrolls number that was "quite strong", given that private job growth surged more than expected in December, according to the latest numbers from ADP and Moody's Analytics, by 257,000 payrolls against expectations of 192,000.