Herd Instinct

Definition of 'Herd Instinct'


A mentality characterized by a lack of individual decision-making or thoughtfulness, causing people to think and act in the same way as the majority of those around them. In finance, a herd instinct would relate to instances in which individuals gravitate to the same or similar investments, based almost solely on the fact that many others are investing in those stocks. The fear of regret of missing out on a good investment is often a driving force behind herd instinct.

Investopedia explains 'Herd Instinct'


Also known as herding, such investor behavior can often cause large, unsubstantiated rallies or sell-offs, based on seemingly little fundamental evidence to justify either. Herd instinct is the primary cause of bubbles in finance. For example, many look at the dotcom bubble of the late 1990s and early 2000s as a prime example of the ramifications of herd instinct in the development and subsequent pop of that industry's bubble.


Filed Under:

comments powered by Disqus
Hot Definitions
  1. National Best Bid and Offer - NBBO

    A term applying to the SEC requirement that brokers must guarantee customers the best available ask price when they buy securities and the best available bid price when they sell securities.
  2. Maintenance Margin

    The minimum amount of equity that must be maintained in a margin account. In the context of the NYSE and FINRA, after an investor has bought securities on margin, the minimum required level of margin is 25% of the total market value of the securities in the margin account.
  3. Leased Bank Guarantee

    A bank guarantee that is leased to a third party for a specific fee. The issuing bank will conduct due diligence on the creditworthiness of the customer looking to secure a bank guarantee, then lease a guarantee to that customer for a set amount of money and over a set period of time, typically less than two years.
  4. Degree Of Financial Leverage - DFL

    A ratio that measures the sensitivity of a company’s earnings per share (EPS) to fluctuations in its operating income, as a result of changes in its capital structure. Degree of Financial Leverage (DFL) measures the percentage change in EPS for a unit change in earnings before interest and taxes (EBIT).
  5. Jeff Bezos

    Self-made billionaire Jeff Bezos is famous for founding online retail giant Amazon.com.
  6. Re-fracking

    Re-fracking is the practice of returning to older wells that had been fracked in the recent past to capitalize on newer, more effective extraction technology. Re-fracking can be effective on especially tight oil deposits – where the shale products low yields – to extend their productivity.
Trading Center