What do Bullish and Bearish mean ?

Bullish and Bearish are terms used to describe the upward or downward direction of a trend, a financial market or an investor mindset.  

Bullish and Bearish : trading vocabulary basics 

The terms Bullish and Bearish use the image of the bull and the bear to define the tendency of a stock exchange price (shares, currencies, raw materials, or bonds), or the mindset of an investor.  

There are two possible explanations for the use of these words :

  • The first refers to the way the animal in question attacks. Because bulls impale from the bottom up with their horns, this implies an upward trend. Conversely, bears’ downward movement of their paws inspires a “bearish” trend. The term "bullish" would then come into play because of the opposition between bear and bull in fights that were organized in the past.
  • The second, more historical explanation is that bearskins were sold ahead of animals being caught, and trappers tried to speculate on the downside in order to bring the price down.  

The terms bullish and bearish are validated when the trend (respectively bullish or bearish) exceeds 15% progression in the stock market index in question. This can reflect the opinion on a single asset as well as on the entire financial market. As a wink to the omnipresence of these two terms, the bronze bull sculpture near the New York Stock Exchange by Arturo Di Modica is commonly known as the "Wall Street Bull".