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Response to TlalocW (Reply #1)

Sat Mar 23, 2019, 07:43 PM

5. 1st, the scene wasn't in the Stock Market, they were in the New York Commodities Exchange

Last edited Sat Mar 23, 2019, 08:17 PM - Edit history (2)

( A minor aside; In the movie at the beginning of this scene, the boys are seen walking in front of the World Trade Center, with the twin towers off their right shoulders. This would mean they were walking East, toward Wall Street and the NY Stock Exchange. The scene to follow takes place ostensibly in the New York Mercantile Exchange where commodities are traded, which is located on the Hudson River, basically behind them. In other words, the movie shows them walking the wrong way, away from the building which houses the trading floor!)

So here's the gist;

The Duke Brothers thought they had information that the Orange harvest was going to be slim, and when that would be announced, the price would spike - simple law of supply and demand.

So they tell their "Pit Trader" to BUY all the FCOJ he can right from the opening bell, thinking that they were going to be able to buy OJ at a lower price initially and after the news report from the Agriculture Department broke, they would have a large position at a lower than market price.

Essentially, they were trying to "Corner the Market" by buying up as many contracts as their trader could. This created a buying frenzy, as the rest of the pit wants to follow the lead of such a well known willing buyer (Bearing in mind the Duke Brothers own a very large commodities trading brokerage. What they do affects everyone else). This causes the price to rise. Simple supply and demand; Lots of buyers, only a few sellers, price rises.

With each buy order, the Duke brothers are laying out real cash from their own account, so they are dependent on the information they have being correct and the price of each contract continue to go up........

BUT....we know it ISN'T correct, and so do Lewis and Billy Ray.

So they wait.....and Billy Ray gets anxious....and they wait....until....

Lewis sees the price get to the level he wants and shouts out that he is selling April contracts at "142!"

Now there is a new seller and the whole pit goes nuts. But do Lewis and Billy Ray actually OWN the FCOJ contracts they are selling? No. They don't. They are "Selling Short" meaning they are selling that which they do not own, but can, or will either borrow from someone else temporarily (which can actually happen when you sell short on the stock market) or the sale is covered before the end of the trading day via a "buy to cover".

With each short sale they make, they are padding their account. Each and every sale is real dollars to them, even though they don't own a thing yet.

The price begins to fall. More sellers than buyers now, so the law stated above is reversed. They want to sell as much as they can as fast as they can because they know the crop report is going to be announced soon and they want as much cash as they can possibly gather because they KNOW the truth and it is the opposite of what the Duke brothers think. This is where the Duke Brothers realize "That's not right" and see our heroes in the pit, selling like mad. They realize the info on the crop report is wrong and hurry down to the pit to get their trader to stop buying and start selling. But alas, he is not successful.

So the announcement comes and the pit goes silent as they all watch the television.

The INSTANT the agriculture rep says "The cold winter has apparently not affected the orange harvest" the pit goes wild again because everyone that had bought at high prices knows now that those prices were too high and they have to unload them or they will have bought FCOJ for way more than market value.

So a selling frenzy ensues. Lewis and Billy Ray fold their arms. They're done selling. The price plummets, because everyone is trying to sell overpriced contracts and there are virtually zero buyers. Lewis watches the price fall to a point he likes (around 46 or so) and says "Buy em'" and now they are one of the only traders in the pit willing to buy what everyone else is desperate to sell.

The price plummets even more all to their advantage. BTW, This is where the money Ophelia and Coleman gave them comes into play, because even though they have all the cash from the short sales from before, now they have the extra cash the other two gave them to buy even more contracts.

A side note pointed out on one blog I read long ago;

In order to really make this hurt the Dukes, at this point the boys would SPECIFICALLY AND PURPOSEFULLY NOT BUY from the Duke's trader or the Dukes themselves. They want to stick the Dukes with a shit load of overpriced contracts, so the entire time they are buying, they are ignoring the Dukes.

And they did. The boys basically did what the Dukes thought they were going to do; Corner the FCOJ market.

The closing bell rings (BTW This was ostensibly an entire trading day of say, 6 hours or so, much longer than the 5 minutes the scene takes) and the boys look up at the board, showing the closing price of 29. They started selling short at 142. The difference is all profit to them.

And then the shit hits the fan.

"Margin call, gentlemen.

Why you can't expect...

You know the rules. All accounts to be settled at the end of the day's trading, without exception.

You know perfectly well we don't have three hundred ninety four million dollars in cash!

I'm sorry, boys. Put the Duke brothers' seats on the exchange up for sale at once, Seize all assets of Duke & Duke Commodity Brokers, as well as all personal holdings of Randolph and Mortimer Duke.....

We're ruined!"

If one were to assume all the losses stated by Randolph ($394,000,000) went to the boys, and that's a good bet and more, adjusted for inflation, $394 mil from 1983 to today comes out to just under a billion. $999.94 million, according to this inflation calculator.

There are several real world issues with this entire scenario of course, the least of which is that it could never happen today because of trading curbs and likely couldn't have back in 1983 either.

But it's a fun scene, and one of my all time favorite movies.

Hope that helps a little.

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Fullduplexxx Mar 2019 OP
TlalocW Mar 2019 #1
krispos42 Mar 2019 #2
winstars Mar 2019 #3
LineLineNew Reply 1st, the scene wasn't in the Stock Market, they were in the New York Commodities Exchange
A HERETIC I AM Mar 2019 #5
themaguffin Mar 2019 #4
A HERETIC I AM Mar 2019 #6
Celerity Mar 2019 #7
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