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Martin Scorsese’s Wolf of Wall Street a bad omen for markets

If history is any guide then today’s debut of Hollywood’s Wolf of Wall Street could signal the top of global share markets, or thereabouts.

Martin Scorsese’s indulgent Wolf of Wall Street, starring Leonardo DiCaprio, hits Australian cinema screens today, just as the local S&P/ASX200 trades around 5319.8 points - the highest the market has been in January since 2008.

The film has been applauded by US movie goers. But Britain’s Financial Times slammed it, saying it was “like being hit over the head for 179 minutes by a cocaine overdosed Statue of Liberty”.

Scorsese’s film has been released at a time when the market is still recovering from the financial crisis. More recently the market has been rocked by the 2013 multi-trillion dollar LIBOR scandal, $US35 billion in fines for the US foreclosure scandal and learning that HSBC was fined for money laundering.

Despite this, other Hollywood films on Wall Street’s antics have an uncanny ability to feature just before the market tanks.

Oliver Stone’s Wall Street in 1987, starring Michael Douglas as Gordon Gekko and Charlie Sheen as Bud Fox was released about the time of the October sharemarket crash that year, when the US S&P500 index tanked 23 per cent.

The release of Boiler Room, inspired by the firm Stratton Oakmont and the life of sharemarket swindler and now-reformed Jordan Belfort, who again inspired Wolf of Wall Street, came around the time of the 2000 tech crash, when the market fell 46 per cent.

Oliver Stone did it again in 2010, with Wall Street - Money Never Sleeps, released in the wake of the financial crisis when the market retreated nearly 50 per cent.