The term is derived from the phrase choppy seas, where a boat will move a lot but not over any large distance as waves prevent it from moving any meaningful distance. The DJIA, for example, may start a six-month period at 10,500 and over the six months move all over the 10,000 to 11,000 range but end the period at around 10,500.
Investment dictionary. Academic. 2012.
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