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Frankfurt's "Bull and Bear" sculptures turn 30

Release date: 04 Oct 2018 | Deutsche Börse Cash Market

Frankfurt's "Bull and Bear" sculptures turn 30

They are popular with tourists, a favourite television backdrop and a symbol of Frankfurt as a financial centre: the "bull and bear" sculptures in front of the Frankfurt Stock Exchange is turning 30 on Saturday.

On the occasion of the 400th anniversary of the Frankfurt Stock Exchange in 1985, the Management Board of the Stock Exchange commissioned the Frankfurt-born sculptor Reinhard Dachlauer to produce the two bronze sculptures. Three years later, on 6 October 1988, "Bulle und Bär" were set up on the east side of the square in front of the stock exchange and handed over to the City of Frankfurt.

Since then, the sculptures have not only served as photo backdrops for ten thousands of tourists and stock exchange visitors every year, they have also been used by companies to stage their IPOs in the media. Before the first share price is determined on the trading floor and the stock exchange bell is rung, the photo in front of the bull and bear is a must.

As globally known stock exchange symbols, the animals stand for the ups and downs in stock trading. How exactly the two animals came to their role is not clearly proven. One common explanation today refers to the different fighting behaviours of the two animals in show fights, which are said to have taken place in the 17th century near the London Stock Exchange.

While the bull tries to take its opponent in an upward movement on the horns, the bear hits with its paws from top to bottom. That is why the bull stands for rising prices and economic upswing. Stockbrokers therefore speak of a "bull market" in a positive market environment – and call optimists, who buy stocks, "bullish".

In contrast, the bear symbolises falling prices. If the stock market values are broadly in minus, there is talk of a "bear market". Investors who bet on falling prices are then called "bearish".