Bull vs. Bear: A Beginner’s Guide to Trading the Markets


If you’re new to the world of trading, the array of unfamiliar terminology can make it feel like you’ve stumbled into a concert where you’re hearing musical notes that have never been composed before. Within the realm of trading, a unique lexicon has emerged, one that draws inspiration from the animal kingdom to symbolize market behaviors and directions. While it might initially seem like a foreign jargon, fear not, for today, we’re going to dive into a few key animal-themed CFD (Contract for Difference) terms to help you not only understand the game but also excel in it.

Understanding Bullish and Bearish Market Directions

Let’s start with the fundamentals before we explore into the world of CFD terminology with animal themes. In the world of trading, the terms “bullish” and “bearish” are two basic ideas that form the basis of market analysis.

Tradings A Bullish Market

Imagine a bull charging ahead with strength and determination. In the financial markets, a bullish market reflects a similar sentiment. It signifies a period when investors and traders are optimistic about the future performance of an asset, whether it’s a stock, commodity, or currency pair.

During a bullish market, prices tend to rise or show the potential for growth. This optimism is often driven by positive economic indicators, strong corporate earnings, or other factors that boost investor confidence. Traders who anticipate a bullish trend may aim to buy assets at lower prices, expecting their value to increase over time.

Trading A Bearish Market

Now, picture a bear hibernating in its den, symbolizing a period of caution and pessimism. In a bearish market, the sentiment is quite the opposite. Investors and traders are concerned about the future performance of an asset, leading to a decrease in prices.

During a bearish market, prices tend to fall or exhibit a potential for decline. This pessimism can be triggered by factors such as economic downturns, poor corporate earnings reports, or geopolitical instability. Traders who foresee a bearish trend may look to sell assets at higher prices, expecting their value to decrease.

How these trading terms originated:

1.Historical Stock Market Slang: One theory suggests that these terms have their roots in historical stock market slang. In the 18th century, there were “bears” and “bulls” markets in the London Stock Exchange. The terms were said to have been derived from the way each animal attacks its prey. Bulls thrust their horns upward (symbolizing rising prices), while bears swipe their paws downward (symbolizing falling prices).

  1. Short Selling and Selling Bear Skins: Another theory relates to the practice of short selling. Short sellers profit from falling prices, and in the 18th century, some traders who engaged in short selling were called “bears.” The term “bear” may have also been associated with traders who sold bearskins before they had caught the bear (i.e., selling something before actually possessing it). This analogy was used to describe traders who sold stocks they didn’t own, hoping to buy them back at a lower price later.
  2. Differences in Temperament: Bulls are often seen as strong, optimistic, and charging forward, while bears are seen as cautious, retreating, and hibernating during tough times. These characteristics were applied to market sentiment, with a bullish market symbolizing optimism and a bearish market symbolizing caution or pessimism.


Understanding Hawkish and Dovish

 “Hawkish” and “dovish” are two more terms often used in financial markets, and they relate to the stances central banks or policymakers take regarding monetary policy. These terms are also metaphorically drawn from the animal kingdom and describe different approaches to managing a country’s economy.

What is a monetary policy?

Monetary Policy is a set of actions and decisions made by a country’s central bank (such as the Federal Reserve in the United States or the European Central Bank in the Eurozone) to manage and control the money supply and interest rates in order to achieve specific economic objectives. The primary goals of monetary policy typically include:

  1. Price Stability: Maintaining stable prices and keeping inflation within a target range.
  2. Economic Growth and Employment: Promoting sustainable economic growth and striving for full employment.
  3. Financial Stability: Ensuring the stability and health of the financial system.
  4. Exchange Rate Stability: Managing the country’s currency exchange rate, particularly in cases where it’s deemed important for economic stability.


Central banks use monetary policy statements to tell everyone how they plan to handle money and loans. They do this by publishing a statement after each meeting of their policy committee. They want to make sure there are enough jobs, prices stay steady, and the economy keeps growing in a good way.

When the central bank says they’re going to lower interest rates, it means they want people to borrow money easily, which can help create more jobs. In 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic caused a sharp economic downturn. In response, the US Federal Reserve lowered interest rates to near zero and started buying government bonds. This made it cheaper for businesses to borrow money and invest, which helped to create jobs and stimulate the economy.

If they say they’ll increase interest rates, it means they want to slow down borrowing to prevent prices from rising too quickly. In 2022, the inflation rate in the US started to rise sharply. In response, the Federal Reserve began to raise interest rates and sell government bonds. This is meant to make borrowing more expensive and slow down economic growth in order to bring inflation under control.

Sometimes they might print more money to help the economy grow, but if they print too much, it can cause problems like inflation, where things become more expensive. So, they have to find the right balance.


Hawkish Monetary Policy:

Metaphorical Inspiration: A hawk is known for its sharp vision and its ability to swiftly swoop down on its prey. In the financial context, being hawkish means taking a vigilant and aggressive approach to monetary policy.

Characteristics: When central banks or policymakers are described as hawkish, it means they prioritize controlling inflation and maintaining price stability as their primary goals. They are more concerned about the potential for inflationary pressures in the economy and are willing to take steps like raising interest rates to combat rising prices.

Impact on Markets: Hawkish policies can lead to higher interest rates, which can make borrowing more expensive and slow down economic growth. However, they can also help to prevent runaway inflation.

Dovish Monetary Policy:

Metaphorical Inspiration: A dove is a symbol of peace and serenity. In the financial world, being dovish means taking a more gentle and accommodative approach to monetary policy.

Characteristics: When central banks or policymakers are described as dovish, it means they are more concerned about promoting economic growth and reducing unemployment, even if it means accepting a slightly higher level of inflation. They are less likely to raise interest rates aggressively.

Impact on Markets: Dovish policies often involve keeping interest rates low or even lowering them to stimulate borrowing and spending. This can be seen as favourable for economic growth and can lead to higher asset prices in financial markets.

The terms “hawkish” and “dovish” are frequently used to analyse statements made by central bank officials, particularly during press conferences or monetary policy meetings. Traders and investors pay close attention to these statements to gauge the likely future direction of interest rates and the impact on various asset classes, including stocks, bonds, and currencies. Understanding whether a central bank is taking a hawkish or dovish stance is crucial for making informed investment decisions.

Trading can be an excellent way to make money, but it requires dedication and education. As long as you keep learning and growing, you will have the potential to keep earning.

Here are some key takeaways from this blog post:

  • Understand the market conditions. Bullish and bearish markets are two distinct market conditions, each with its own characteristics. By understanding the factors that drive these market conditions, you can make more informed investment decisions.
  • Be aware of central bank policy. Central banks play a significant role in managing the economy. By understanding their monetary policy stance, you can better understand the likely future direction of interest rates and the impact on various asset classes.
  • Make informed decisions. By combining your understanding of market conditions and central bank policy, you can make more informed investment decisions.




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