These days, the spectrum of market commentary is broad, ranging from permabulls to recessionistas to gold bugs to dollar bears.

More recently, a special group of folks have been out in full force — the PermaBears — and their jargon can be a bit . . . confusing . . . to the uninitiated.

For those you who have been having difficulty understanding their idiosyncratic language, The Big Picture, in conjunction with Google Translate, offers you this handy service.


The PermaBear to English Translation Guide

Apple: A fictitious company that does not exist.

BLS: A secret society of mathematicians and statistical wonks conspiring to falsify economic data, formerly known as the the sect of Opus Dei; See also Birth Death Adjustment.

Bernanke, Ben: Beelzebub

Bonds: An asset class that will eventually be worthless paper as its value is inflated away, but in the meantime, are a good alternative to equities.

Bubble: A catchall phrase used to describe any market not in freefall.

China: The centrally planned communist economy that is the model for Free Market Economies in the West. alt. An idealized form of Capitalism;

Death Cross: The most reliable and certain technical formation known to man. See also Golden Cross: An old wives’ tale, not to paid attention to or taken seriously at all.

Depression: The current state of economic affairs; See also Pornography.

European Union (EU): A soon to be dissolved association of Socialist states, whose sole purpose is to mislead investors into believing the United States is (comparatively) fiscally responsible. See also EuroFASB: A criminal legal enterprise of accountants whose members help banks hide massive losses;

Fiat Currency: The root of all evil

FOMC: Fertilizer for the root of all evil

Gold: A shiny yellow metal used primarily as an excuse for missing a generational rally in equities.

Google: See Apple

Greece: A nation of tax cheats that will lead to the dissolution of the EU;

Greenspan, Alan: Lucifer

Housing Bottom: A theoretical but mathematically impossible construct.

Hindenburg Omen: A common pick up line at permabear cocktail parties, good for for attracting sexual partners but of little use for anything else.
Vernacular: “Did you see another Hindenburg Omen signal was given today?

Hyper-Inflation: The eventual fate of all humanity due to the existence of central banks.

Inflation: The precursor condition to Hyper-Inflation.

Japan: A large manufacturing island in the Pacific, whose decades-long recession is the inevitable model for the United States

Money Supply: , an imaginary number.

New Normal: A combination of contracting credit availability, stubborn unemployment and US consumer de-leveraging; See also 1930s, 1950s, 1970s (aka Old Normal).

Overbought: The normal state of equity markets;

Oversold: A theoretical market condition last seen in 1982.

P&L: We don’t talk about that.

POMO: An acronym used by rookie traders in failed attempts to explain the “mysterious” impact of massive liquidity on equities.

QE 2: A code word or shorthand for the event that has been prophesied to bring about the End of the World. Interchangeable with “Apocalypse” as Perma-bears regard both its coming and its destructive power as a quasi-religious inevitability. See also POMO

Recession: See Depression

Risk On: Any Bull market

Rosenberg, David: A minor deity amongst the Perma-bear faithful. The very mention of his name causes a reverential hush to fall over the gathered masses as they hungrily devour his latest proclamations of death and dismemberment. See also Roubini, Faber, Rogers, Cassandra, et. al.

Stress Test: Hoax or Conspiracy

Subprime: The state of all credit in the US

Tony Robbins: The newest economic sage to warn of the coming economic apocalypse, most recently during August 2010; See also Paul Tudor Jones.

Unemployment: An irreversible condition, symptomatic of declining empires. Hence the reason no one in Great Britain ever found a job again after the 1830′s.

Uptrend: Not found.


Well, there you have it — unless the trading Gods have terrific senses of humor, the top is now in.


Previously: The Modern Kudlow To Standard English Translation Guide

Coming Soon: The Gold Bug to English Translation Guide

David Rosenberg: A minor deity amongst the Perma-bear faithful. The very mention of his name causes a reverential hush to fall over the gathered masses as they hungrily devour his latest proclamations of death and dismemberment.

Category: Humor, Psychology, Trading

Please use the comments to demonstrate your own ignorance, unfamiliarity with empirical data and lack of respect for scientific knowledge. Be sure to create straw men and argue against things I have neither said nor implied. If you could repeat previously discredited memes or steer the conversation into irrelevant, off topic discussions, it would be appreciated. Lastly, kindly forgo all civility in your discourse . . . you are, after all, anonymous.

60 Responses to “The PermaBear to English Translation Guide”

  1. If you have any additional entries for the dictionary, please free to suggest them below…

  2. V says:

    Ha. Very good.
    Can’t wait to read the permabull to english guide … although I think that everything just translates to BUY STOCKS!

  3. Angel Face says:

    First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.

  4. gps says:

    Exactly. You’ve found the mind of perma bears and I’ve known a person who has identical views said in this article. He is a bear right now and he always comes out with these arguments and I still remember his view on Apple and this has been presented by you. Quite unbelievable that you’ve found the mind inside these bears. Hereafter Dr.Barry Ritholtz Ph.d in Psychology- Capital Markets.

  5. JustinTheSkeptic says:

    “China: The centrally planned communist economy that is the model for Free Market Economies in the West. alt. An idealized form of Capitalism;”

    A “Command economy” who has billions of ants to suck us dry!

  6. Mike in Nola says:

    Many a true word is spoken in jest.

  7. Clem Stone says:

    If you price this dictionary in gold instead of fiat it’s not funny anymore.

  8. TrndTrader says:

    You do realize that when it finally reaches the point where something like this is published that the current trends in place are more probably rather mature than immature. At the very least the open risk in these trends is about to increase one would think. ;)

  9. IvoZ says:

    Isn’t this post a contrarian indicator? Bulls throwing a party in the face of overbought condition and a AAII in overbullish teritory?

  10. Ivonz

    Well, we are 45% cash — not exactly rampaging bulls.

    And, as I note at bottom, “Well, there you have it — unless the trading Gods have terrific senses of humor, the top is now in.”

    So the answer is maybe.

  11. Petey Wheatstraw says:

    I don’t know if I’m a perma-bear, or not, but I do know that the dead or fatally injured/terminally ill/poisoned entity that is our economy will not return to its former condition of vitality. Ever. As we stand around its hospital bed, muttering platitudes and administering uber-costly medicine that can only slow the process and progress of the disease, but will never reverse its damage or course, we are unable to look to the future and the promise it holds for the rest of us.

    The perma-bulls don’t want to see the reality of the terminal disease. Thy assure everyone that the patient will not only survive, it will be able to dance (and play the violin), once again (but only if we keep giving it massive doses of medicine). They are willing to pay the faith-healers masquerading as doctors any amount in order to se the patient struggle on for another day or week.

    If there was ever the time and place for a mercy killing, this is it.

  12. TrndTrader says:

    Interestingly, this post was time stamped within a few minutes of the top tick in the Euro/$, $au/$, Dax et al, Bunds, and even 30year US bonds….so far. Super short term trade setups on many of these already where reasonable trailing volatility exits are already locking in open trade equity. ;)

  13. constantnormal says:

    ” … unless the trading Gods have terrific senses of humor, the top is now in” — the Sage has uttered the only mystical incantation that will keep the rally going.

  14. constantnormal says:

    If this isn’t a signpost of the Apocalypse, I don’t know what is: Twitter Predicts the Stock Market [Infectious Greed]

  15. seana0325 says:

    russell 50day SMA spread was at 9.9% (on a intraday high price action basis) on Wed. I dont have access to my platform but I think the APR 26 High was around 10.3%.

    Makes me say hmmm…

    Do i stay patient and see if the spread will move above the APRs? Or was 9.9% wide enough?

  16. Petey Wheatstraw says:

    OT (sort of), from WaPo:

    “Bernanke: Fed prepared to act to boost economy.”

    Another dose of amphetamine-laced holy water straight into the jugular. Ol’ Mr. Economy is going to get up and do the two-step, quick-step, and the Bossa Nova (props to Leo Sayer). Followed by relapse to a new low.

    We should have let Kevorkian handle this. Bernanke is a witch doctor.


    BR: See also POMO

  17. Petey Wheatstraw says:


    Kevorkian or Volker.

  18. Panzner says:

    I sent it to all my contacts…very good
    I loved the apple one

  19. [...] It’s funny because it’s true. Check out the whole thing. [...]

  20. Expat says:

    I despair of modern civilization when the head of our economy openly states that inflation is too low. We know what inflation is and we know what deflation is. Deflation is evil only to indebted economies and governments that run on debt. To anyone else, deflation is normal and a nice thing.

    With a nod to George Carlin, let’s play Madlibs with Bernanke (this is not a direct quote, by the way):

    “Inflation is too low and the risk of deflation is higher than desirable.” Ben Bernanke.

    “Taxes are too low and the risk of democracy is higher than desirable.”
    “Murder rates are too low and the risk of empty prisons is higher than desirable.”
    “The sea level is too low and the risk of no global warming is higher than deisrable.”

    Make up your own or try to justify why Bernanke’s statements make any economic or moral sense.

  21. Liquidity Trader says:

    Funny, I received this by email from two people, and then my boss (I’m on a trading desk) handed me a copy.

    Yes, this has already gone viral

  22. w says:

    Thanks for the heads up.

  23. BR,

    this Glossary is missing an Entry, before ‘Fiat’, for “FedRes” ..

    for further.. “$2,000,000,000,000.00 dollars has been stolen from the US Treasury!! What happened? Who did it? Did they get away with it?

    The answers: A ‘false flag’ event, the Federal Reserve, and yes….”

    also, re: AAPL — Designed in Cupertino, Made by Slaves.

  24. Alaric says:

    BR –

    Need a definition for “Cramer” — perhaps “Good Contrarian Indicator”

  25. mad97123 says:

    ‘Gold: A shiny yellow metal used primarily as an excuse for missing a generational rally in equities.’

    From my perspective it’s the other way around.

    Gold, the shiny yellow metal allowed me to miss a generational crash. I’m still well ahead of the bubble bulls even though I only got the middle part of the ‘generational rally’.

  26. Mannwich says:

    The truth hurts.

  27. Hard1 says:

    Is it a coincidence that these are exactly the top 20 words used in Zero Hedge?

  28. Livermore Shimervore says:

    Kudlow = irrational optimism incarnate.

    munis = posion pills for the gullible

    decoupling = overly redundant

    TBT = the best kept secreet amongs the savvy

    china property bubble trade = poison pills for hedge fund gurus

    Jim Jones = just a misunderstood kool aid chemist

  29. Myr says:

    You’ve virtually guaranteed a drop in the markets. Thank you from a “permabear.”

    The funny thing about being a permabear is that we’ve been very right for a very long time now. Anyone can tell you that in long term bear markets there are tremendous rallies and yes, last year was a very good year for me. Bearish and proud :)

  30. markincorsicana says:

    String: The object upon which one pushes when one’s helicopter fails. See also: Japanese noose.

  31. Permabear? On what time horizon? Five years? Ten? Fifty? A hundred?

    For me, the short run is about two decades. And in those two decades, the demographic implosion in the developed world will drive the economic performance train. So if the horizon is ten or twenty years, then indeed, I am a permabear, so far as the developed world’s economic growth prospects are concerned.

  32. Hilarious!


    “P&L” to “Fantasy!” (give me some “EBITDA” baby)

    “Stress Test” to “See P&L” (tell me all about your bank’s “book value” … no fraud there!)

    … Have a nice day, BofA.

  33. Mr. Anonymous says:

    Ha ha, nice snark, BR. But you are going to learn something about how it feels to be opposite the PowersThat Be. Watch what happens with the mortgage mess. Watch how NOTHING happens, except a papering over of the issues and the edict ‘there’s nothing to see here, move along.’ You will learn what the fundamentalist (investors) have learned, and that is the system will cheat and cut any corner to get their desired outcome (Get Out of Gilloutine Free Card), whether it be printing dollars to buy bankers’ impaired assets unto oblivion, direct infusion of cash into the equity markets via PDs or suborning of the quaint notion ‘the rule of law’ to save banks from their own fraudulent actions. Seriously, BR, the Rule of Law is sooooo 20th Century. So yuk it up. Soon enough, you’ll be throwing up in your mouth.

  34. hue says:

    flat = the new short (from Todd Harrison)

  35. Grant W says:

    You had me at Apple

  36. Joe Friday says:

    “Greenspan, Alan: Lucifer”

    There might actually be something to this one.

  37. [...] The PermaBear-to-English translation guide. [...]

  38. DL says:

    “Gold: A shiny yellow metal used primarily as an excuse for missing a generational rally in equities”

    . . . . . . . . . .

    If I can catch a “generational rally” in gold, that’s not so bad either.

  39. FormerlyknownasJS says:

    Permabull corollaries:

    Apple: The quintessential post valuation company, no price is too high.

    BLS: An organization that occasionally overstates inflation causing the Fed to raise interest rates and interfere with market performance.

    Bernanke: Guarantor of rising asset prices.

    Bonds: Why buy bonds when you can buy Apple?

    Bubble: Huh?

    China: The greatest growth story ever, limitless profits for the adventurous.

    Death Cross: A lapse in market judgment.

    Golden Cross: Investors returning to their senses.

    Depression: See a psychiatrist about this and get medicated, buy Apple too, it will help.

    EU: Makes nice cars and stylish clothing.

    Fiat currency: Whatever.

    FOMC: See Bernanke.

    Gold: Why buy gold when you can buy Apple?

    Google: See Apple.

    Greece: A place to vacation with Apple profits.

    Greenspan: Most important chairman for the stock market ever, originator of the asset price level “put”.

    Housing bottom: It is always a good time to buy or sell houses, especially now, see Oversold.

    Hindenberg Omen: Lols, wtf is wrong with these Permabears?

    Hyper-inflation: Great for stock prices; gear up and buy, buy, buy!

    Inflation: A good start.

    Japan: Epic fail, doesn’t understand central banking, see Bernanke and Greenspan.

    Money supply: Stuff to buy Apple and Google with.

    New normal: Whatever, ignore this bond salesmen twaddle, just buy stocks.

    Overbought: Permabear figment.

    Oversold: Any time prices go down.

    P&L: Buy Apple.

    POMO: Mechanism for insuring rising asset prices and inflation.

    QE2: It’s about time, see POMO.

    Recession: See Oversold.

    Risk On: There is no risk, see Bernanke and Greenspan.

    David Rosenberg: Economist followed by the other side of the trade.

    Stress Test: Totally unnecessary fundamental analysis of financial institutions in a post valuation era, wtf, see Bernanke and Greenspan.

    Subprime: Evidence of a lack of sufficient POMO and fiscal stimulus.

    Tony Robbins: He makes ice cream? Whatever, who cares, buy Apple.

    Unemployment: The more the better, see Bernanke and Greenspan.

    Uptrend: Reality.

    ZIRP: The land of milk and honey.

  40. pkts says:

    Awesome list Barry, I have quite a few bear friends to forward it to. Who is John Tudor Jones? Is he related to Paul Tudor Jones? ;)

  41. VennData says:

    America: The Microsoft Vista of working, high-powered national functionality

    Blog Comment: A common-sense, real-world data point (mathematically: One over Obama)

    CNBC: A MTM outlet where cheerleaders never discuss gold and the color red is verboten

    Jackson Hole: Kandahar.

    Obama: A community organizer without a community. An arrogant, clueless, narcissist from Ha’ vaad who will confiscate gold this November.

    March 6th, 2009: Slow news day, meaningless.

    The Rich: Feckless, clueless bank bond holders who got their bailouts and shouldn’t be taxed.

    Silver: The Son…

    Platinum: …The Holy Spirit

    Prechter: Uncanny predictor who uses precise physical models of the universe with the results of a black jack card counter at the end of a shoe

    Unemployment rate: Don’t ask, Don’t tell.

    Wall Street Journal Opinion Page: A good source of home schooling projects to teach kids about moderates.

  42. [...] The permabear to English translation guide.  (Big Picture) [...]

  43. RC says:

    Hillarious !!!
    This is one of the reasons why I call TBP a must read on the web.

  44. darekkkk says:

    From a Permabull dictionery:
    Permabear-someone telling that poor economic data means poor economic data
    Generational rally in equities-80% rise of the market after 60% decline
    Short position- not found in a dictionery
    FED-insurance against a drop in a market
    Deflation-general rise in prices not big enough to make nominal returnes to look good
    Unemployment-one of the minor economic data
    Good data-number better than expectation even if they were the worst in a dozen of years. Reason to buy equity
    Bad data-number worse than expectation. Reason to expect action of the FED so the reason to buy equity
    Stimulus-something that saves the economy. If there is no improvment it means that stimulus was too small, too late or both and another bigger stimulus is needed
    QE-something that works so well that you can expect QE1, QE1.5, QE2, QE3…
    Hawk-someone telling that 0.25 % nominal rates are low
    Crash-something what happens once in a hundred of years. Can not be forseen before.
    Ponzi scheme- fraudulent investment operation that pays returns to separate investors from their own money or money paid by subsequent investors
    Investing-investment operation that pays returns to separate investors from their own money or money paid by subsequent investors
    Bear market-occasion to buy a dip, and another one, and another one…
    Market top-a price level which will be achieved and broken in a short time
    Market bottom-the benchmark for reckoning returns in a market. Start point on the time axis
    HFT-a liquidity provider
    SEC-an institution established to investigate why market went down
    Bubble- Permabears bs talk. Other meaning -something what never exists untill ends with crash
    FED rate-something what should be cut after market drop

  45. Arequipa01 says:

    How about the “Pity the Greater Fool” Inflection Point.

    It is signalled by the sudden, inexplicable, incongruous appearance of Mr. T:

    BTW, Mr. T, a wonderful human being. ‘Nuff said, fool.

  46. darekkkk says:

    From a smart, unbiased investor dictionery:

    Speculative bubble-irrational, exponatial rise in prices often fueled by easy money. The most desired phase of the market which you should be able to recognize to take part in it
    Greenspan Allan-a person who made all the mess. A person who helped you to be rich.
    Wall Street-greed, corrupt financial institutions you dislike but you rather prefer to be on the same side of the trade
    Overvalued market-market characterized by prices greater than rational valuations. Usually it means opportunity to buy as overvalued markets tends to be more overvalued
    Common sense- ability to act against common sense in a insane world
    ZIRP in past- monetary policy leading to nowhere which caused the worst crises since the Great Depression.
    ZIRP in present-monetary policy for which there is no alternative
    Deflation- bad thing as it means that it is hard to make money on the markets
    better to make money than to be right-way of thinking which helpes you make money
    better to make money than to be right-way of thinking which leads to financial crises like the last one

  47. chromex says:

    With a nod to Bierce, I’d like to offer
    Apple= A company that, according to many, it is quite reasonable to obscenely overweigh in the indexes, despite the fact that the majority of its manufacturing labor is hired in places other than the US.

  48. nofoulsontheplayground says:

    While the NDX made a new 52-week high today, the SPX is still below its 52-week high by 20% when priced in Gold.

    If you’re talking about the “top” on the indexes, we should move up to 2140 NDX by next week or early on the following week, consolidate in a range from 2020 to 2150 NDX for 6-weeks, then move up to make the final high around 2239 NDX, ideally around mid-December.

    From there we correct in the markets into early March 2011.

    The SPX may be reigned in by the weekly 200-SMA, currently at 1196.50, until late November or early December. That line has held price in check since summer 2008 and most recently at the 1219 SPX April highs.

    As with fall 2007, leadership should narrow going into the top. We’re seeing lack of participation on the part of the financials and Semis, and that may be a sign of weakness.

    Anytime the WTIC has gotten in the $83-$87/bbl range the SPX has tended to stall/reverse. It happened again this week.

  49. nofoulsontheplayground says:

    Target for early March 2011 low is 1780 NDX, which basically means we will fill all the daily gaps from the summer 2010 lows on the NDX.

  50. nofoulsontheplayground says:

    Oh, my target for the SPX 2009-2010 rally high is 1257 SPX in mid-December, although it should be re-tested in early January. My target for a March 2011 low on the SPX is roughly 1070 SPX.

  51. ben22 says:

    this is hilarious.

  52. dmunson says:

    “Depression: The current state of economic affairs; See also Pornography.”

    I looked but did not find the porn. Where is the porn?


    BR: You have to click on the porn link

  53. tt says:


    that was funny as hell. sounds like mish shedlock. like you say do you want to make money or be right.

    i know you are an equity bug, but has not the yellow relic outperformed standard and poors for the last 20 years.

    and if you don’t use the huckster index and account for stocks taken out, hasn’t gold done better than stocks for 25 yers.

    and if you account for the typical hedge fund or mutual fund or brokerage client, hasn’t gold done better than stocks for every decade for the last 100 years in usa alone?

    though i did laugh out loud. great blog you have. i like your realism. and sense of humour.

  54. Mike in Nola says:

    By coincidence, relating to both AAPL and a possible top:

  55. Permabear says:

    Permabear: Someone who warned for years that debt was getting too high, that budget and trade deficits were out of control, that derivatives were a major problem, that the housing and stock markets were headed for a crash, and that gold was going to be the best investment to hold. And what do you know the Permabear was someone who got everything right.

  56. CTPtrader says:

    your forgot:

    “deflationary spiral”

    “liquidity trap”

    “lost decade”

    “pushing on a string”



  57. [...] The permabear to English translation [...]

  58. [...] The PermaBear to English Translation Guide “These days, the spectrum of market commentary is broad, ranging from permabulls to [...]

  59. Kid Blast says:

    Bernanke Clown Confetti: Common stock certificates

    Turbo Tax Timmy: The criminal U.S Treasury Secretary who blamed his incorrect tax filing on the tax preparation software Turbo Tax.