bull and bear market
The bear and bull markets are named after the way in which each animal attacks its victims. It is characteristic of the bull to drive its horns up into the air, while a bear, on the other hand, like the market that bears its name, will swipe its paws downward upon its unfortunate prey. Furthermore, bears and bulls were literally once fierce opponents, when it was popular to put bulls and bears into the arena to fight. Matches using bulls and bears (whether together or against other animals) took place in the Elizabethan era in London and were also a popular spectator sport in ancient Rome. Historically, the middlemen who were involved in the sale of bearskins would sell the skins that they had not yet received and, as such, these middlemen were the first short sellers. After promising their customers to deliver the paid-for bearskins, these middlemen would hope that the near-future purchase price of the skins from the trappers would decrease from the current market price. If the decrease occurred, the middlemen would make a personal profit from the spread between the price for which they had sold the skins and the price at which they later bought the skins from the trappers. These middlemen became known as bears, short for "bearskin jobbers," and the term stuck because it describes a person who expects or hopes for a decrease in the market.
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