sucker rally
n. A short-lived gain in the stock market. Also: sucker’s rally.

Example Citations:
There may well be a rally in tech stocks sometime in the next few weeks or months. But, on the information to hand, it will be a sucker rally: one of those rallies where suckers and their money are soon parted.
—"Warning: Beware The Aftershocks," Australian Financial Review, April 17, 2000

The explosive rally in the Dow this past week constituted one of those moments when it is best to buy first and ask questions later.

While it is possible this was a sucker rally doomed to reversal, experience indicates a move like that with no apparent trigger signals the start of something big, very big.
—Howard Simons, "This Dow's for Real," TheStreet.com, March 22, 2000

Earliest Citation:
Coinciding with the topping out of the June-July sucker rally, we have the greatest lineup ever of analysts turning bullish (but) there was absolutely no technical reason to buy stocks.
—George Linton, "Analysts' comments dispel some of summer's optimism," The Globe and Mail, August 7, 1982

Notes:
The phrase sucker rally (also known in the trade as a bull trap) isn't very new. In fact, its print pedigree stretches back to at least the fall of 1982, where it appeared in such august publications as Time, Newsweek, and Business Week, as well as William Safire's language column in The New York Times. It merits a Word Spy post 18 years later not only because stock pundits are using it quite often in these jittery market times, but also because it's a great phrase. Stock talk may be mind-numbingly dull, but stock jocks seem to have a knack for coining fun and colorful phrases (see the Related Words list for proof).

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