Bear markets and bull markets are so ingrained now as part of the basic financial
vocabulary that many people forget that they’re actually animal-based metaphors.
(Why do bears go down while bulls go up? I have no idea.) But there are other,
more colorful animal metaphors, too. A bad deal is a dog; a small rise after
a large fall is a dead cat bounce. Today, a friend emailed me to tell me that
a deal he’s been working on is "a fish on land," as in you’re never
quite sure whether it’s dead. And then there’s Bill Gross,
of course, who in his latest
newsletter comes up with this magnificent example of animal metaphors gone
That growing lack of confidence – more so than the defaults of two
Bear Stearns hedge funds and the threat of more to come – has frozen
future lending and backed up the market for high yield new issues such that
it resembles a constipated owl: absolutely nothing is moving.
So what happens when a roaring bull runs into a constipated owl? And since
when do bulls roar, anyway? And what on earth does "pigs get fed and hogs
get slaughtered" mean? Will MBAs soon be forced to take a course in zoology?
If you have any favorite market-based animal metaphors, do post them in the