Why use a bear to describe an investment trend?
In the late 1500s, people enjoyed bull and bear-baiting. They gambled on which dogs could kill a bear chained to a post. Surprisingly, bear-baiting still occurs in South Carolina, although it’s illegal in the other 49 states.
That’s how bears and bulls first became linked in people’s minds. In the 17th century, hunters would sell a bearskin before catching a bear. In the stock market, short sellers did the same thing. They sold shares of stock before they owned them. They bought the shares the day they were to deliver them. If share prices dropped, they would make a profit. They only made money in a bear market.The phrases were first published in the 18th-century book, “Every Man His Own Broker,” by Thomas Mortimer. Two 19th century artists made the terms even more popular. Thomas Nast published cartoons about the slaughter of the bulls on Wall Street in Harper’s Bazaar. In 1873, William Holbrook Beard painted the stock market crash using bulls and bears.