A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006.

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Entry from October 27, 2008
Graveyard Market

A “graveyard market” is the end of a long bear market—when the stock market seems like a “graveyard.” Long-time investors have suffered large losses, but stay in the market hoping that the worst is over. New investors, however, don’t see the positive signs to come off the sidelines and invest in the market with their cash.

The investors who are in the graveyard can’t get out. The investors who are out of the graveyard don’t want to get in.

The term “graveyard market” is cited in print from at least 1968. The term would seem to apply to the bear market of 2008, but “graveyard market” does not appear to have much current usage.


Investopedia
Graveyard Market
The period near the end of a prolonged bear market. In a graveyard market, long-time investors have taken large losses, while new investors prefer to stay liquid by sitting on the sidelines and keeping their money in cash or cash-equivalent securities until market conditions improve. 

The term graveyard market is an apt description of this market phenomenon: the investors in a graveyard market can’t get out of it, and the investors who aren’t in it don’t want to be. Therefore, until a positive outlook becomes more conclusive, the overall market conditions will be slow to improve. 

InvestorWords.com
graveyard market
A bear market characterized by a reluctance to sell in the face of substantial losses and a reluctance to buy in the face of a dismal outlook. The market is termed a graveyard market because those on the inside cannot get out, and those on the outside have no desire to get in.

The Free Dictionary
graveyard market
A declining market with low prices that discourage investors from selling and with little interest among investors to buy.
Wall Street Words: An A to Z Guide to Investment Terms for Today’s Investor by David L. Scott. Copyright © 2003 by Houghton Mifflin Company.

Google Books
A Handbook of Personal Insurance Terminology
By Michael H. Levy
Published by Farnsworth Pub. Co.
1968
Pg, 224:
GRAVEYARD MARKET (F) — a type of market in which those who are in it can’t get out, and those who are out of it, don’t want to get in.

Google Books
The Language of Wall Street
By Peter Wyckoff
Published by Hopkinson and Blake
1973
Pg. 104:
graveyard market A type of market in ...

Google Books
Dictionary of Jargon
By Jonathon Green
Published by Routledge
1987
Pg. 260:
graveyard market n [US] [Stock market] a market in which prices are falling heavily and continually, this is on the analogy of the graveyard where those who are in—the investors—cannot escape and will lose heavily, those who are out prefer to keep their cash liquid and have no desire to get in.

Google Books
The A to Z of Wall Street:
2500 Terms for the Street Smart Investor

By Sandra S. Hildreth
Published by Longman Financial Services Pub.
1988
Pg. 88:
Graveyard market: The type of market that is like a graveyard, in that those who are in can’t get out and those who are out don’t want in.

Google Books
The Wall Street Dictionary:
The Most Up-to-Date and Authoritative Dictionary of Financial Terms

By Robert L. Shook
Published by New York Institute of Finance
1990
Pg. 173:
GRAVEYARD MARKET. A bear market in which investors who sell their shares lose money, and other potential investors stay away from the market altogether. 

Austin (TX) American-Statesman
Graveyard market
Author:  BOSTON GLOBE
Date: March 14, 1999
Publication: Austin American-Statesman (TX)
Page Number: H2
A graveyard market is a specific situation that occurs after a protracted market decline. It is the point in a bear market when virtually no investors are looking to buy, preferring to remain in cash until conditions improve. As a result, investors looking to sell are faced with the potential for substantial losses. Prices in this situation tend to drop rapidly, because there are so few buyers to keep prices stable. As a result, sellers must either realize big losses or stay put and ride out

MyWire
Inc. > December 2003
Talking the Talk
By Bobbie Gossage | Dec 1, 2003
Know a clawback from a buyback? This fall, Webster released its first guide to business terms, with more than 3,500 entries ranging from economic colloquialisms to short bios of folks such as John Maynard Keynes and Eliot Spitzer. Author Barbara Etzel lists among her favorite jargon: “graveyard market” (a bear market where investors don’t sell because they don’t want to incur losses), “fallen angel” (an investment-grade bond that has fallen to junk status), and “greater fool theory” (the theory that a bad investment can still be sold later to a “greater fool"). Below are other tidbits from Webster’s New World Finance and Investment Dictionary . 

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityBanking/Finance/Insurance • (0) Comments • Monday, October 27, 2008 • Permalink