A bear raid is a type of stock market strategy, where a trader (or group of traders) attempts to force down the price of a stock to cover a short position. The name is derived from the common use of bear or bearish in the language of market sentiment to reflect the idea that investors expect downward price movement.
A bear raid can be done by spreading negative rumors about the target firm, which puts downward pressure on the share price. This is typically considered a form of securities fraud. Alternatively, traders could take on large short positions themselves, manipulating the price with the large volume of selling, making the strategy self-perpetuating.
The practice of bear raid has its roots in the 17th-century Dutch Republic. In 1609, Isaac Le Maire, a sizeable shareholder of the Dutch East India Company (VOC), organized a bear raid on the stock of the company.
...Dutch market punters pioneered short selling, option trading, debt-equity swaps, merchant banking, unit trusts and other speculative instruments, much as we now know them. With them came specialised offshoots - insurance, retirement funds and other orderly forms of investment - and the maladies of capitalism: the boom-bust cycle, the world's first asset-inflation bubble, the tulip mania of 1636-37, and even, in 1607, history's first bear raider, a canny shareholder named Isaac le Maire who dumped his VOC stock, forcing the price down, and then bought it back at a discount.