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Wall Street History: Why Are Optimists Called Bulls?

Friday, 24 Feb 2012 | 5:50 PM ET

In this 3rd installment of our special series on Wall Street history, we tackle a fundamental, yet surprisingly challenging question.

What are optimistic investors called bulls?

We say surprisingly challenging because we hear the term all the time – bullish on this stock or all bulled up on the market. But when we asked our colleagues about the origins of the expression, nobody seemed to know.

And that surprised us. Bulls are so closely linked to the stock market that a bronze sculpture of a charging bull stands right outside the New York Stock Exchange.

Why Did 'Bulls' Wind Up on Wall Street?
In this edition of our "History of Wall Street" series, Ron Insana explains why optimistic investors are known as "bulls."

We were relieved to find you share our curiosity - and that you're not sure why optimists are called bulls, either! After going through some recent e-mail we found these:

“I have a question for you. What is the origin of the terms "bull?"
- Robert P.

“OK, I got the wall street where-from. Didn't know and now I do. Now tell me where the bull comes from. I mean, I know where bull comes from, but not the such in front of the Exchange!”
- Robert F.

Well, Robert P and Robert F and everyone else – we got the answer from the most respected authorities on financial history that we know – the NYSE and the Museum of American Finance.

For the answer, watch the video above, narrated by CNBC Contributor Ron Insana – it’s only 90 seconds.

We'll get to the bears next week! And if you like what you see - please click below and check out the first two installments:

> Why is Wall Street Called Wall Street

> NYSE Stock That's Still Around from the George Washington Era



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