Bullish or Bearish

Wall Street Bull
All that lingo to deal with… What does it mean when they say bullish or bearish?

These two terms are nothing more than expressions of sentiment as pronounced so very often in the investment and trading community. Needless to say, investing in and trading financial assets are risky activities as a financial market is a psychological battleground. Nobody can tell if the price of an asset goes up or down; the best we can say is that there are ways to evaluate the probabilities of what is going to happen.

Otherwise, experts argue that prices truly walk a random walk down Wall Street.

Be it as it may, the bullish and bearish sentiment expressions show up in fundamental, technical and sentiment analysis about financial assets, including bitcoin. “Can you beat the market?” “Is the market going up?” “Are you bullish or bearish?” “Is this chart pattern a bullish or bearish sign of things to come?” “I’m bearish and better sell now.” “This TV celebrity is bullish on bitcoins, shall I buy?” You get the point.

The terms bullish and bearish refer to calculations of probabilities at best. These calculations are rational in terms of using real data and statistic models to calculate the probabilities of outcomes. The mind, or intuition in perhaps other words, also makes calculations which result in sentiments. Many a folks rely on gut feelings to simply gauge the direction of price movement.

However, financial commentary mostly shares both, a bullish and a bearish sentiment, in analysis. This is much safer than giving plain buy or sell advise. The analysts or commentators won’t be on the hook in legal terms when things turn sour.

The typical retail investor is bullish by default. And for good reason. The financial markets have been going up steadily over time (a few blips, yes), at least in the US. The retail investor thus takes the long-term approach and mostly holds his or her investments.

The typical retail trader might hold a few positions long-term, but otherwise uses percentages of his or her working capital to also buy and sell based on being bullish or bearish in different timeframes.

For once, there is the long-term view of the retail investor which may span a decade or two or longer. The trend trader may hold an investment for a year or two, a few month, or until the trend reverses. A swing trader may take not just one, but multiple shorter-term views: from weekly to daily to intraday. For a swing trader it becomes necessary to understand and properly juggle multiple timeframe perspectives.

“Are the probabilities in my favor?” If so, I snort like a bull and buy. If not, I growl like a bear and sell. But who knows! One might be bullish now, and bearish a moment later. Which is to say that the expressions of “being bullish” or “being bearish” mean little without reference to their timeframe.