What Is A Falling Knife in Stocks?

You have most certainly heard of a falling knife investing approach. In this post, you can find out precisely why and how you may adopt a falling knife investing strategy in your portfolio.

Sharp stock price declines over a week are referred to as a “falling knife.” A fast decline in the value of an asset, such as a stock, is referred to as a flash crash. It does not have a fixed size or duration before it constitutes a falling knife.

What is a falling knife?

A falling knife is a rapid decline in the price of a security, such as a stock. In such situations, investors are advised to wait until the security reaches its lowest point before reinvesting. Despite the events of a falling knife, many stocks are able to recover rapidly; this is known as a whipsaw.

In the investment realm, a falling knife is a metaphor for a stock that has lost value and is currently tumbling. The word originates from the risky situation of catching a falling knife, which can easily end in damage. But what exactly is a falling knife stock, you may ask? A falling knife, as defined by Brandes, is a corporation whose stock price has declined by more than 60 percent over a 12-month period or over a year.

How does a falling knife work?

There are various reasons why a stock’s downward price behavior qualifies it as a falling knife. In many instances, poor news concerning an issuing firm can result in a stock’s first falling knife behavior, followed by broad market divestment. Following a good follow-up announcement by the issuer, the stock’s price typically recovers in the market under these conditions.

Freddie Mac is an excellent illustration of a falling knife. In little than one month, Freddie Mac’s stock price dropped 77.8 percent in July 2008, when the true scope of the housing crisis became apparent.

What message does a falling knife convey?

The falling expression knife implies that investing in a market with a great deal of downward velocity is exceedingly risky, similar to attempting to catch a falling knife.

According to the falling knife meaning, the given word is understood to signify that buying into a Market with abundant downward velocity is risky to a greater extent – similar to catching a falling knife in real life. In practice, however, several profit opportunities are associated with a falling knife. A trader who purchases at the bottom of a downtrend could anticipate substantial returns when the market recovers if the specified criteria are met at the optimal time. Similarly, applying for a short position owing to the price decline and exiting before the occurrence of a rebound could also be incredibly rewarding. Moreover, even investors who buy and hold may experience a falling knife that presents a buying opportunity. The only stipulation is that the investors must have a case that implies ownership of the stock. It is crucial to highlight, however, that it is a condition of real-world risk that the timing could be inaccurate, and you could experience big losses before achieving a profit. Rather than attempting to catch a falling knife, traders should hunt for confirmation of a trend reversal using chart patterns and other technical indicators.

In practice, however, there are numerous places of profit for a falling knife. A trader who purchases at the bottom of a downtrend can achieve a substantial profit as the market recovers, assuming the timing is just right. Also beneficial is entering a short position as the price declines and existing prior to a price comeback. Moreover, even buy-and-hold investors might utilize a falling knife as a buying opportunity if the stock’s fundamentals justify ownership.

However, there is a very real possibility that the timing may be inaccurate, and there may be big losses prior to gains. So many traders continue to give the adage lip attention. Instead of attempting to “catch the falling knife,” traders should use other technical indicators and chart patterns to confirm a trend reversal. Examples of confirmation are waiting for many days of upward momentum following a decline or examining the relative strength index (RSI) for signs of a stronger upswing before investing in the new trend.

Why is a falling knife significant?

A falling knife signifies a stock whose investment potential has decreased. Under some conditions, a falling knife may provide an opportunity to purchase the stock at a low price, with the possibility of price recovery and rapid capital appreciation. These companies are safe to pick up only after they have fallen to the ground, like a falling knife.

Timing a falling knife well can bring significant gains for many investors. If investors do not purchase the stock at or at the bottom of the trend, they may face losses as the price continues to decline until a whipsaw happens and prices return higher than the original position.

Reasons for a falling knife

There are several possible causes for a falling knife. Examples of possible reasons include, but are not limited to:

1. Poor earnings

When companies disclose earnings that fall short of expectations, the stock may plummet and see volatility swings until supply and demand normalize.

2. Equity offering

A firm may issue more shares to the general public if it needs to obtain funds, and it would result in the dilution of current shareholders, which would spur a sell-off.

3. Economic reports

If the Federal Reserve or a bank delivers disappointing or unfavorable news about the present economic climate, investors would swiftly sell stocks or transfer assets to other types of investments, leading stock values to decline.

4. Support levels

If a security’s price falls below its support line, technical traders believe it will continue to decline until it reaches the next level of support.

A historical example of knife catching

DailyFX, a research and news website, has created a Speculative Sentiment Index (SSI). The indicator is based on the number of forex traders that hold both long and short bets on major currency pairs, and it displays the positioning ratio for a certain currency pair. The purpose is to aid the reader in comprehending shifts in investor sentiment by illustrating dynamic changes in purchasing and selling patterns.

On one occasion, the price of the U.S. dollar versus the Canadian dollar saw a strong and rapid increase. As the price continued to increase, the SSI indicated that more and more traders were betting against it and losing their wagers. As the price continued to rise, traders eventually capitulated and began to follow the trend. At that time, the USD/CAD began a precipitous decline. Throughout the spectacular rise and subsequent collapse of the currency pair, traders attempted to “catch a falling knife.” In both instances, the knife caused severe injuries.

Each trader’s losing wager was based on the notion that the trader had some real (and typically “unique”) insight into the market’s future performance.

Strategies to generate profit during a falling knife

Assuming traders purchase the stock at or at the bottom of a downward trend, a falling knife can be beneficial if timed correctly. When prices begin to adjust and recover, the realized profits might be substantial.

Shorting or selling the investment is an alternative strategy. If investors are able to short the stock during a falling knife, they will profit from the difference between selling the stock at a higher price and buying it again at a lower price.

Long-term investors can profit from a falling knife if they purchase the stock at any time throughout the downward trend and hold it for several years in the hope that the price will rise.

How can falling knife stocks be caught?

First, you must determine which stocks exhibit a falling knife-like trading pattern. To identify these stocks, you must search for the following indicators:

  • A stock whose price has declined sharply over a brief period of time.
  • A substantial trade volume during the price fall.
  • A stock trading beneath its moving averages

Once you have discovered a stock that is exhibiting a falling knife pattern, you must wait until it reaches its lowest point before purchasing.

Identifying the bottom of the falling knife pattern is possible by observing a few crucial indicators:

  • A share stock that has fallen to a new 52-week low
  • A significant rise in quantity.
  • A stock that is beginning to recover from its recent lows.

After identifying these indicators, you can begin purchasing the stock. Initially, you should simply purchase a tiny position. If the stock continues to decline, you can increase your holdings.

Investing in a falling knife stock requires careful consideration of a number of things. You may want to begin by determining how long the stock has been falling and why it is falling. According to some experts, many freefalls occur when a stock’s value was initially overstated and are the result of the market achieving equilibrium. You will also need to determine whether its value is in freefall or close to bottoming out. This may be a true guess, but purchasing a stock at its absolute bottom carries a far lesser risk than purchasing one that has fallen only half as much as it will.

Examining the trends of comparable stocks might help you identify whether a stock is falling or has already reached the ground. Determine whether the decline is a result of company-specific factors, such as scandals or management changes, or a market-wide issue. This strategy might assist you in determining the likelihood of a stock rebound. Small firm issues, such as a management change, will generally be resolved quickly and result in a comeback, whereas market-wide concerns can take a significant amount of time to overcome.

Catching a falling knife without financial loss involves luck, bravery, and market acumen. Freefall techniques are not advised for persons with limited investment capital or an undiversified portfolio. However, the inherent risk and chance make this strategy appealing to investors who perceive the market as a game in addition to a financial opportunity.

Risks and countermeasures for a falling knife

Timing and occurrences provide the greatest threat to profits from a falling knife. There is no assurance that the stock price will fluctuate or gradually regain momentum; bankruptcy is a possibility. Therefore, it is essential to take measures before entering a trade involving a falling knife pattern.

Rather than relying exclusively on the falling knife, traders should analyze prior trend reversals utilizing technical indicators and chart patterns to support their view that the stock will eventually rebound. Before investing, investors might examine the RSI for indications of significant rising momentum, for instance.

What is the correct method for catching a falling knife?

There is no universal method to grab a falling knife, as it varies depending on the circumstances. Nonetheless, the following are three strategies for catching falling blades.

These are the most common strategies employed by investors to securely grab falling knives and avoid losses:

Stabilize before buying

Before purchasing shares, one method for catching falling knives is to wait for the stock price to stabilize.

Before purchasing the stock, you would wait for it to stop falling and begin trading in a small range. Importantly, price stability suggests that selling pressure has abated, and the stock is no longer falling precipitously.

This strategy involves patience but can prevent you from purchasing shares at the bottom of a drop.

It is also usual for investors to anticipate a stock’s recovery. Once the stock reaches a predetermined low, they will track its price and add it to a watchlist.

They might wait until the stock rallies 5 to 10 percent from its lows before concluding that selling pressure has subsided.

Buy gradually

Another strategy is to acquire stock gradually over time, and this permits you to average into your position and decreases your risk.

It can be tempting to attempt to buy everything at once to catch the bottom of the market, but this is usually a mistake. It is preferable to purchase shares gradually over time in order to avoid financial loss if the stock continues to decline.

This typical investment strategy resembles dollar-cost averaging in many aspects (DCA). With this strategy, you may approach a falling knife, but you must define your DCA frequency with care.

The reason for this is that stocks can decrease for years, and if you start buying every day, you could run out of money and wind up with a losing stock in your portfolio.

Use stop-loss orders

Stop-loss orders are another method for catching falling blades. A stop-loss order is an order to sell a security at a specified price.

This can assist in limiting your losses should the stock continue to decline. This trading tool can be useful but must be used with caution. You may sell your shares at a significantly lower price than expected if the stock price drops.

When catching falling knives, each of these methods can help investors minimize losses and enhance profits.


A falling knife indicates a stock whose price is rapidly plummeting. Following the falling knife pattern might be a lucrative stock market strategy.

Catching a falling knife is dangerous, but it may be lucrative if performed right. By knowing what a falling knife is and how to catch it, investors may protect themselves and their portfolios more effectively. If you follow these easy guidelines, you can make a lot of money in the stock market by catching falling knives.

A falling knife is a quick decline in the price of a stock that results in a downward trend. The creation of falling knives is a result of poor results, Equity offers, lackluster economic reports, and breaking support lines. For certain investors, a well-timed falling knife results in profit. Alternatively, the investor incurs losses if they fail to acquire at the stock’s bottom. Therefore, you must be patient and wait until the stock reaches its lowest point before making a purchase.


What does a falling knife has no handle mean? 

The investment term “a falling knife has no handle” is frequently used to indicate a stock that is in free fall and may be too dangerous to grab.

This expression arose from the risky situation of catching a falling knife, which can result in serious injury.

The same hazards apply to catching falling knives in the stock market; if you’re not careful, you may lose a substantial amount of money.

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