In this scene from The Big Short, the traders illustrate the concept of risk/reward payoffs using Jenga blocks. When trying to determine which investments to approach, the safest returns (the blocks at the top) are the easiest to invest in, but they don’t offer much of a return because they are so safe. The investments that are a bit risker (the blocks at the bottom) are compensated with higher returns to compensate investors who take the risk.
It’s time to short sell the orange juice commodities in Trading Places. Billy and Louis wait for the right price to sell and then hear from the Secretary of Agriculture that the market for oranges won’t be as bad as anticipated so then turn around to buy cheap.
Billy, played by Eddie Murphy in Trading Places, works through the process of why pork belly prices are declining during the Christmas season.
Wanda discusses insider trading in her comedy bit and notes that everyone participates in some form of insider trading. While Martha Stewart may have been sent to jail for insider trading, her cousin who works at Walmart will call her and tell her not to buy certain products because they’ll go on sale next week.
The efficient market hypothesis states that any available information about a market is already captured in the market price. Matthew McConaughey, in The Wolf of Wall Street, notes that the first rule of the market is that no one knows what is going to happen, especially stock brokers.
Mac, Charlie and Dennis come up with another poorly thought out get rich quick scheme by trying to start a door to door gas selling firm. After getting a loan from the bank, they plan on buying a mass quantity of gasoline, waiting for the price to go up, and selling it for profit later on. The gang believes that when the gas prices reach a certain point they would be able to undercut the gas companies and sell the product at a higher price than what they bought it for.