As seen in the exchange traded fund (ETF) market, the U.S. stock market seems to be defying traditional elements of savvy investing.

Gary Gordon for ETF Expert points out that risk or risky investments are often associated with NASDAQ, tech, or small stocks. However, these types of stocks have been the leaders through the close of last week in this bear market.

This is exemplified by the iShares Russell 2000 Index (IWM), which is showing a technical uptrend. IWM is down 3.5% year-to-date, but is up 5.8% over the past month. This is not bad at all compared to alternative indexes. The S&P 500, for instance, has lost more than 12% this year and the S&P 500 SPDR Trust (SPY) is down 12.3% year-to-date and still more than 5% below its 200-day moving average.

These tech and small companies seem to be early leaders in the race toward economic recovery. However, these types of stocks are not the solution for the tough economic times. This being said, it is important to note what can be taken away from this bear market as an investor.