In a bear market the only time it is safe to buy stocks is when stocks are extremely oversold and sentiment is extremely negative. Right now, stocks are not oversold on a short term or long term basis (Please see charts below). Sentiment is clearly negative but it is not yet extreme. The VIX is under 26 while in the last bear market it was over 40 numerous times.
On the bright side there was a whiff of fear in the air yesterday. We saw the most put buying since March on the equity side of the ISE and CBOE. Although, before the March lows we had numerous days with this level of put buying before a bottom. While we could see a rebound we need to see more days like yesterday to get a lasting bottom.
Oil and material stocks are in complete free fall. I find that this type of action usually happens at the end of a down move. It seems everyone is now bearish on oil and calling for $80 oil. I believe that purchases at these levels will be rewarded when a bounce does arrive.