bear trap

What Is a Bear Trap?

A bear trap is a technical pattern that occurs when the price action of a stock, index or another financial instrument incorrectly signals a reversal from an uptrend lớn a downtrend. In other words, prices may move higher in a broad-based incline, only lớn encounter significant fundamental resistance or change. This prompts bears lớn open short positions, hoping lớn profit from an indication of falling prices.

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A bear is an investor or trader in the financial markets who believes that the price of a security is about lớn decline. Bears may also believe that a financial market's overall direction may decline. A bearish investment strategy attempts lớn profit from the decline in the price of an asset, and a short position is often executed lớn implement this strategy.

A short position is a trading technique that borrows shares or contracts of an asset from a broker through a margin trương mục. The investor sells those borrowed instruments lớn repurchase them when the price drops, hoping lớn profit from the decline. When a bearish investor incorrectly identifies the timing of the decrease in price, the risk of getting caught in a bear trap increases.

Key Takeaways

  • A bear trap is a false technical indication of a reversal from an up-trending market lớn a down-trending one that can lure unsuspecting sellers.
  • Bear Traps can occur in all asset markets, including equities, futures, bonds, and currencies.
  • Bear traps can take the size of a downside market correction amid an overall bullish move higher.
  • It is difficult, if not impossible, lớn tell if the downward correction will continue or turn into a bear trap. So from a trading perspective, traders need lớn be cautious about their position size in case the overall uptrend reasserts itself.

Bear Trap vs. Bull Trap

There are two types of traps lớn look out for, bear traps and bull traps. Which one is occurring depends on the overall market conditions and trends.

Bear Trap

A bear trap occurs when there is a bearish correction or reversal amid an overall uptrend. A downward correction sees shorting temporarily overcoming buying pressure, leading lớn a short-term price fall. The decline may be small or large, potentially failing at recent price highs in the uptrend.

The downward correction may last several trading sessions, giving a false impression that the market has indeed reversed. Traders might take short positions lớn profit on falling stock prices, but when buyers begin seeing prices drop and increase their buying activity, the market won't tư vấn prices falling further. It then rapidly resumes its uptrend.

The traders with short positions face losses because they sold a stock at a specific price lớn repurchase it at a lower price later, but then the price rose and kept climbing. These short traders are then trapped in a losing position—they have lớn buy back the stock for a higher price, losing more capital the longer they wait lớn repurchase it.

Trading View

Bull Trap

A bull trap is when an overall downward trend and a short-term bullish—or upward—trend in price occurs. Like a bear trap, this short-lived uptrend can trick traders into positions that can cause losses. In a bull trap, traders might take long positions because the market is falsely indicating that a reversal is underway. When the market resumes its downward trend, traders are left holding stocks that are losing value.

Trading View

Causes of a Bear Trap

Bear traps generally occur when investors and traders notice that a price trend appears lớn have reversed over a period. There are many reasons a stock price might drop—government report releases, geopolitical events, company press releases, rumors of a recession, or anything else that might create doubt and fear of loss. As a result, investors begin selling, causing prices lớn drop.

The false trend can last for several trading periods; if traders suspect a reversal, they take short positions. As more traders start lớn sell and short, the price continues lớn drop until it hits a tư vấn level that causes it lớn rebound. The tư vấn level is determined by the market. It is generally represented by the price where buyers start flocking lớn the asset, increasing demand—which tends lớn raise the stock price rapidly and cause a trap for the bear traders.

Identifying a Bear Trap

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Short sellers are compelled lớn cover positions as prices rise lớn minimize losses. After short-sellers purchase the instruments required lớn cover their short positions and buyers start buying, the downward momentum of the asset tends lớn decrease. A subsequent increase in buying activity can initiate further upside, which can continue lớn fuel price momentum.

The fundamentals are critical in identifying a bear trap, even for technical traders. Because a bear trap is a false indication, the only thing changing is the stock price. For instance, if none of the important fundamentals (e.g., economic and company financial data) have changed against your position, you shouldn't expect more kêu ca a limited Bear Trap correction.

If the fundamentals have changed, there's no reason the downward trend you're shorting shouldn't continue. If the overall trend is lower and a Bear Trap correction occurs, you have an opportunity lớn get short at better levels, looking for the up move lớn eventually resume—you'll still need lớn put a stop order above if you're wrong. On the other hand, if the trend is your friend, the appearance of a bear trap may signal an opportunity lớn get short on a corrective bounce with a view that the major uptrend is phối lớn resume.

How lớn Avoid a Bear Trap

Some ways you can tell if a decline is a bear trap:

  • Observe trading volume: Look at the instrument's trading volume. If it is low, it may provide clues that it is a temporary price change.
  • Use your trading tools: Put options and stop orders can help you minimize losses if the short down-trend is temporary.
  • Technical analysis: Fibonacci retracements, relative strength index, and volume indicators can help you understand and predict whether the current price trend of a security is legitimate and sustainable.
  • Candlestick indicators: Candlesticks patterns such as Evening Star, Bearish Engulfing, and Three Black Crows can help you identify a bear trap.

Real-World Example

You can find examples of bear traps in many stocks during overall market uptrends. For instance, in the bear trap image above, ConocoPhillips' stock price was trending up for several months before it began falling. It dropped rapidly in early October 2022, traded at tư vấn for a few days, rebounded lớn its previous price level, and continued rising.

Traders who took short positions for the 9-day period the stock was declining would have been caught in a bear trap if they hadn't placed stop orders or taken other action lớn ensure they weren't snared in the trap.

How Do You Trade a Bear Trap?

One method is lớn use a short and ensure you place a stop order in case you're wrong about the reversal. If the fundamentals still look good, you could consider entering a long position during the downtrend lớn profit on the upside.

Is a Bear Trap Bullish?

A bear trap is short-term bearish but long-term bullish because it usually occurs in a bullish market trend.

What Is Bull Trap vs. Bear Trap?

A bull trap is the opposite of a bear trap, where traders might assume a downward trend is reversing and begin lớn take long positions, only lớn watch the market resume its downward trend.

The Bottom Line

When it comes lớn trading, there is probably nothing more irritating kêu ca a bear trap. One day you're with the downtrend, and price action looks promising for further weakness. Then the market changes course higher abruptly based on news or data or simple market dynamics (too many shorts/not enough longs). Now you're forced lớn sit through what might be a minor bounce or a more significant correction higher.

It's tough lớn identify a bear trap until after it forms and you see your position moving against you. Hopefully, you have heeded advice lớn always have a stop loss order before getting into any position. If sánh, it prevents the panic you may feel when the trend reverses course against you.

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