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A Lesson In Liquidity

A client called his broker inquiring about egg futures and is quoted a price of 25 cents per contract. Having a hunch about the egg market he buys 100 contracts. A week later he calls his broker to get a quote. Pleased to learn that the price of eggs has risen to 35 cents he decides to buy another 1,000 contracts. A few days later, eager to check on the progress of his investment, he is amazed to learn that the price has now risen to 50 cents per contract, twice the price he paid for his original 100 contracts. Sensing a trend, he steps it up, this time buying 100,000 contracts. The next day, ecstatic to learn that egg prices have now risen to 65 cents, he gets even more aggressive, buying 1,000,000 contracts. Sure enough, the following day the price of eggs rises to 95 cents, prompting him to order an additional million contracts. The day after that, as rising prices further validate his intuition, he buys yet another million contracts, this time paying $1.25.

The next day, with egg contracts trading at $1.75, he senses that the market has risen too far too fast, and places an order to sell 2,000,000 contracts. After a pregnant pause his broker replies, “Sell? to whom?, you’re the egg man”.

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