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I am an entrepreneur, investor, consultant and husband to my beautiful wife, Leah. If I lived in NY, I would work on Wall Street and if I lived in La La Land, I would sell real estate. I have two extreme passions: movies & all things investing! My love of the financial services industry and... More
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  • Are You A BULL Or A BEAR? 0 comments
    May 25, 2012 10:09 AM

    The financial world has a lot of sayings and jargon that can make anyone's head spin. Terminology like derivatives, indices and asset classes can make learning about the industry a little "unBEARable". But if your like me, a little history lesson can always be interesting. You may have thought, what does Wall Street mean when they talk about a 'bull' or a 'bear'?

    The actual origins of these terms are hazy. The expressions are used to describe either the attitude of a person or the sentiment of the general stock market. A "bear" is someone who believes the market or stock will go down in value while a "bull" is a person who believes the market or stock will rise. A bull or bear market is defined as a 20% drop or rise from the most recent peak or trough. The term "bear" dates back to the 17th century when bearskins were sold as a trade. The bearskin salesman would sell skin that they didn't yet have. Kind of like a farmer who speculates on future agriculture prices (cattle, grain, etc.), the bearskin salesman would speculate the price of the bearskin to drop as they received it from the trappers. The trappers would make any profit, or spread, between the cost and sale price of the skin. This is how the salesman became known as a "bear" and why a drop in prices in the market is known as a "bear market". The "bull" became known as the opposite of a "bear" due to the popular fights that took place in early California between a bull and a bear. This was a gruesome contest introduced by the Spanish during the 1850's California gold mining days. At the time it drew in many spectators but the following was short lived.

    The spectator sport of fighting between the bull and the bear has been known as the other possible origination of the famous expression. During a fight, a bull and a bear are characterized by a specific fighting style. The "bull" is recognized for thrusting its horns in an upward movement towards its opponent. This is similar to a rising market or stock. On the other hand, a "bear" will swing its claws in a downward motion. This led to the bull referring to an upward market and the bear as a downward market.

    The history of the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) dates back to May 26, 1896. Since then, there have been 28,920 "bull" calendar days in the market to 11,380 "bear" calendar days in the market. This has equated to 30,254 point gains versus 19,042 point losses in the Dow. *

    So what are you? Are you a "Bull" or a "Bear"???

    SOURCES: WSJ Market Data Group; ''The New York Stock Exchange: The First 200 Years,'' Greenwich Publishing Group; Doug Short, vice president of research, Advisor Perspectives

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