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Bear/Bull Market

  A market in which prices are falling or are expected to fall is called by economists a bear market. It is a designation commonly used in securities markets and commodity markets and is the opposite of a bull market. Likewise, the term bear can be applied to a person who expects stock prices to fall and sells stock that he or she does not have for delivery at a future date. When the future date arrives the bear expects to buy in at a lower price to deliver the stock that had been sold under the future contract at a higher price.

Historically, the term bear for such a person appears early in the 18th century, first as bearskin jobber, which makes it probable that the original phrase was ‘sell the bearskin’, and that it originated in the well-known proverb, ‘to sell the bear\'s skin before one has caught the bear’. The associated bull appears somewhat later and was perhaps suggested by bear. TF



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