What is a bear trap? – Trading Definition & Explanation

WHAT IS A BEAR TRAP? – TRADING DEFINITION

A bear trap is a colloquial trading term used to describe common situations in the market that seem to indicate an imminent downturn in a security, but actually result in a steady or rising priceprice.

As traders who generally go short on downtrends, bearish investors are vulnerable to these deceptive market events.

Bear traps come in all shapes and sizes, but they share the common subjectivee characteristic of being deceptively attractive to traders with bearish sentiment.

Bear Trap

UNDERSTANDING BULLS AND BEARS

The terms bulls and bears are used to describe traders with positive and negative market sentiment, respectively respectively. Although these are not fixed attitudes and a trader may be bullish on one security while bearish on another, traders generally tend toward one or the other Sentiment.

Traders are either looking for promising securities with unrecognized potential or they are looking for overvalued securities that have a hidden flaw that the market has not yet identified.

These two approachese tend to favor certain personality and trading types, and most traders lean more toward one side of the spectrum than the other.

Bears, therefore, are eager to discover information or identify price patternsthat might indicate an imminent price decline so they can short that security.

Short Selling – the Short Squeeze and the Bear Trap

Short selling or short selling is the act of betting against a security and in entering a trade to profit when the price falls.

There are a few different methods for short selling different types of securities, but the most common is to borrow the shares from a broker on margin and sell them at the current pricend sell them at the current price, hoping to buy them back later at a lower price to return to the broker.

This method of betting against a security means that bears are more susceptible to losses when the price is rising than bullsmore vulnerable to losses than bulls when the price is falling.

A well-known example of short squeezes is Tesla stock. Well-known short sellers have lost a lot of money betting on falling prices. See Here is an example of the short squeeze in the in the Tesla share:

Tesla stock in 2020 with short squeezes

When the price of the security rises, the short seller must buy shares to maintain his margin rate. If enough short sellers are forced to buy, they drive den the price of the security even higher, resulting in more margin calls that amplify the effect of the initial price increase.

Therefore, bear traders must be especially careful when entering their short sales, as bear cases tend to catch enough bear traders so that the price increase will be substantial enough to inflict serious losses on the trade.

My conclusion on the bear trap:

Because of the nature of short selling or short selling, bearish investors must be extra cautious when taking a position, especially one that is likely to attract many other bearish investors.

A bear trap is so common in the market that it has earned its own nickname and bearish traders need to be aware of this feature of short selling today.

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