What is the relationship between animals and financial markets? In this article for beginners, you will learn about animal symbolism in trading and investing, including:
- Bulls and Bears (Bulls and Bears)
- Doves and Hawks (Doves and Hawks)
- Rabbits and Tortoises (Rabbits and Tortoises)
- Black Swans
- Animal Spirits
We have all seen and been moved by the adorable photos of pets such as kittens and puppies on social media. Although financial markets have a reputation for being business-driven, they have long had a deep connection to animal symbolism.
While pets on social media represent a warm and affectionate feeling, animal symbols in investment markets are associated with radically different emotions.
As a beginner, it won’t take long for you to take an interest in the financial media and follow the news to keep up to date with the latest developments in the forex and stock markets. Most articles on market sentiment refer to bulls and bears, so let’s start with those.
Bulls and bears in the financial markets (bulls and bears)
A strong upward trend in the economy influences investor sentiment, which means more optimism and confidence in the markets. In some cases, a booming market turns into a “bull run”, in which market sentiment appears to charge horns first, demonstrating a healthy appetite for risk.
Conversely, a sharp decline in the economy gives rise to emotions of fear and sometimes panic. The animal that represents these emotions is the bear, and when a market turns bearish, there is a sell-off and investors’ appetite for risk fades.
Bull and bear have become shorthand to describe the prevailing mood in the markets and can also be equated with buyers and sellers. This fight between buyers and sellers results in the rise and fall of different instruments in the financial markets.
Bulls and bears battle in the field (the order book, straight to the market) while other species take flight, which brings us to hawks and doves.
Hawks and doves (hawks and doves)
A hawk represents a central bank bent on tightening credit by raising interest rates and catching its prey – inflation. The monetary policy hawk appears when prices rise too quickly and fuel inflation, forcing central bankers to take action to stem it.
The dove is a much less aggressive bird than the hawk, and when used in financial markets represents periods of monetary policy when inflation is low or normal. Dovish monetary policy is linked to looser credit conditions and is also referred to as “accommodative” monetary policy.
Black Swans are so rare that their name is used to describe highly unusual events in the trading and investment markets. Examples of black swans include the EURCHF flash crash when the Swiss National Bank (SNB) pulled out of an agreement to maintain a floor between the Swiss franc and the euro. Black swans can also refer to geopolitical events such as wars, revolutions, pandemics, and other major disruptions in the global economy.
The crucial thing to understand about black swan market events is that they are caused by a massive reaction of fear and panic. In hindsight and once the dust has settled, the catalyst that sparked the mass reaction can often mean a shift in the economy. A good example is the gradual extinction of currency pegs, which seem to be on the way out, as modern economies require more flexibility than ever.
Rabbits and tortoises (rabbits and tortoises)
Rabbits and turtles are not mentioned in the media as often as bulls and bears or hawks and doves. This may be because rabbits and turtles represent a type of approach to investing and trading rather than a temporary emotion like fear or optimism.
Rabbits tend to jump into deals or investments quickly, while Tortoises take a slower, longer-term approach, making progress toward their financial goals rather than rushing.
We have talked about terrestrial and aerial animal species, but what about the sea? The whales represent the “big hands”, i.e. institutional investors and traders, mega-banks, governments, central banks and hedge funds.
When a large institution makes a trade or investment, it can change the direction of the market. Examples of this can be seen in the interventions of central banks in the foreign exchange market, when they buy their national currency to support it during periods of vulnerability.
When hedge funds sell short or go long (long) in an instrument, they have such high buying power that they can also move the market.
No, the term “animal spirits” does not refer to the ghosts of bulls and bears, but it can be scary.
The latter describes a pervasive emotion that grips investors and traders at particular times in the markets. These emotions are usually associated with panic during “black swan” type events or euphoria when the economy is doing so well that it seems like every investment or position is successful to the trader.
Animal spirits are extreme emotions in the markets and can lead to drastic changes and movements in asset prices. These changes can be described as volatility, but in the case of animal spirits, the variations can go far beyond the healthy meaning of volatility, turning into wild oscillations until the phenomenon subsides.
What is the response to animal spirits? Always use prudent risk management techniques. This topic will be covered next week, so don’t forget to regularly check our article entitled “Economics News for Beginners”.
Admirals offers many educational and analytical webinars. To meet and discuss with professional traders, take part in our free webinars!
INFORMATION ON ANALYTICAL MATERIALS:
This content does not contain and should in no way be interpreted as containing investment advice or recommendations, an offer or a solicitation to trade in financial instruments. Please note that this marketing communication is not a reliable indicator of any current or future performance, as circumstances may change over time. Before making any investment decision, you should seek the advice of independent financial advisers to ensure that you fully understand the risks involved.