What is Capitulation?

In finance, capitulation is when people who are trying to make money in the stock market or other investments, give up because they have lost a lot of money. It's like when you're playing a game of Monopoly and you've lost all your money and properties, you might decide to give up and stop playing.

Financial capitulation can happen when people feel really worried about losing money, and they sell their investments at a loss, even if it means selling at a very low price. This can make the market drop even more, and it's often seen as a sign that the bottom of the market has been reached.

It's important to understand that in investing, there are always risks and it's normal to experience some losses, but it's also important to have a plan and not to make hasty decisions based on fear. It's also important to understand that sometimes it's better to hold on to your investments for a bit longer, as the market can recover.

For example, imagine you invested your allowance money in a stock and the value of the stock went down and down, you may feel really worried and may want to sell the stock quickly to stop losing more money, that's financial capitulation.

Simplified Example

Imagine that you and your friends are playing a game where you have to catch a ball that someone throws to you. At first, it's easy to catch the ball because it's thrown slowly and you have plenty of time to get ready. But as the game goes on, the ball gets thrown faster and faster, and it becomes harder and harder to catch.

Eventually, you might get tired or frustrated and decide to give up. You stop trying to catch the ball, and it falls to the ground. This is a bit like what happens when investors experience capitulation - they get tired of trying to make money from a particular investment, and they decide to give up and sell it at any price.

When a lot of investors start to give up on a particular stock, it can cause its value to drop sharply. This is because there are more sellers than buyers, and the sellers are willing to accept lower and lower prices just to get rid of their shares. This is similar to how the ball falls to the ground when you give up on trying to catch it.

History of

The term "capitulation" in finance traces its roots to the battlefields of the 17th century, where it described the surrender of an army or fortification. As financial markets emerged and evolved, the term found its way into the lexicon of traders and analysts, aptly capturing the sudden and overwhelming selling pressure that can characterize the final stage of a bear market.

The term's adoption in finance is believed to have occurred in the late 19th or early 20th century, as financial journalists and analysts began to use it to describe the panic selling that occurred during market crashes like the Black Friday crash of 1869 and the Panic of 1907. The term's usage solidified during the Great Depression, when Graham and Dodd, renowned financial analysts, employed it to describe the extreme selling pressure that marked the era.


Market Capitulation: Market capitulation is a term used to describe a sudden and rapid decline in market prices due to panic selling. This often occurs during periods of extreme market volatility, such as during a financial crisis. Investors who are unable to tolerate the loss of their capital may engage in capitulation by selling their assets at any price, which can result in a cascading effect that leads to further price declines. Market capitulation can create significant buying opportunities for investors who are willing to take a long-term view and have the ability to withstand short-term price fluctuations.

Company Capitulation: Company capitulation occurs when a company or management team gives up on its current strategy or business model due to financial or competitive pressures. This may lead to a change in direction, a strategic pivot, or even a complete dissolution of the company. Company capitulation often occurs during periods of economic downturn, industry disruption, or significant market changes. For example, a retailer that is struggling to compete with online marketplaces may capitulate by closing its physical stores and shifting to an e-commerce model.

Investor Capitulation: Investor capitulation occurs when an investor gives up on a particular investment or market due to a perceived lack of value or the inability to tolerate risk. This may lead to selling of the investment at a significant loss, or a decision to exit the market entirely. Investor capitulation can be driven by fear, uncertainty, and lack of confidence in the investment or market. For example, an investor who has experienced significant losses in a particular stock may capitulate by selling their shares and avoiding future investments in that company or industry.

Overall, capitulation is a significant event in finance that can have long-lasting effects on market prices, company performance, and investor portfolios. While it may be difficult to avoid capitulation during periods of extreme market volatility or economic disruption, investors can minimize its impact by maintaining a long-term view, diversifying their portfolios, and staying disciplined in their investment approach.

  • Bear: The term "bear" is used to describe a market condition in which prices are declining and investors are anticipating further decreases.

  • Unrealized Profit and Loss (UPL): Unrealized Profit and Loss (UPL) is a financial term used to measure the difference between an asset’s current value and its original purchase price.