pin-striped pork bellies
n. Stock market index futures.
A few years later, at the launch of the Treasury bill market, the IMM was compared in the press to a bawdy house trying "to make money by being more outrageous than its rivals". Not to be left out, in 1982, the IMM's new stock index market was called: "Pin-striped pork bellies."
—Leo Melamed, “Better than just pin-striped pork bellies,”, June 22, 2003
He said the success of the belly contract from the mid-1960s to the early 1970s enabled the exchange to diversify into livestock futures and the financial products that now account for most of its trading volume. The first financial futures were jokingly called "pin-striped pork bellies," Katz said.
—“Happy birthday, you old porker,” Arkansas Democrat-Gazette (Little Rock, AR), September 18, 1991
1983 (earliest)
Commodities market participants have dubbed the new U.S. stock index futures contracts "pin-striped pork bellies" because of their wild and woolly market action since August.
—Dennis Slocum, “Stock index futures volatile, scary for those after hedge,” The Globe and Mail, February 26, 1983
Investors can now buy contracts based on the future values of some stock market indexes (such as the Dow Jones). Because these investments combine the stock market (associated with pin-striped suits) and the futures market (associated with commodities such as pork bellies), Wall Street wonks often refer to them as pin-striped pork bellies.
Filed Under