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5/28/11

Peru Prez Poll: Ollanta ahead, according to Imasen

The latest poll from Imasen and published in La Republica was supposed to be published tomorrow, but it got leaked and so La Republica, on this page, has confirmed the numbers.

According to this poll, Ollanta Humala has a slight lead. We note that the newspaper in question supports the Ollanta Humala campaign (about the only serious paper to do so). Nevertheless, this is the first poll to give Ollanta a lead in the last couple of weeks, with the big live TV debate up tomorrow evening (that you out there in the world can watch of CNN's Spanish language service, CNN Expansion, so I understand).

It's going down to the wire, be in no doubt. By the way, separate from the normal IKN Weekly issue 108, subscribers will get a full report on the debate proceedings either late Sunday evening or before the bell Monday morning.

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Kaption Kompetition: The Winner

A couple of days ago we ran this caption competition post, featuring the wonderfulness of the DSK/POTUS/FLOTUS together in shot. And today the winner is called.

There were in total 56 entries (and a big thank you to all who took time to send in), which must be some kind of record round these parts. The judges (well...just me really, cos I like to be all despot dictator occasionally) had a lot on their plates, but eventually whittled them down to the following. So we'll do a reverse order podium medal thingy and start with...

...THIRD PLACE, BRONZE MEDAL, A WHOOP AND A YEEHAW IS AWARDED TO RICHARD G (of Mexfiles fame) with this:


NOW SECOND PLACE, SILVER MEDAL, ROUNDS OF APPLAUSE AND AUTOGRAPH SESSIONS goes to reader JM with this mighty effort:


BUT as Highlander so rightly pointed out THERE CAN BE ONLY ONE so it time for the roll on the drums, the smell of the crowd, the roar of the greasepaint and FIRST PLACE, THE WINNER, THE CHIKKIN DINNAH, OWNER OF THE GOLD MEDAL AND RECIPIENT OF THE U$50 PRIZE goes to PHILIP K with this entry:

Philip, you're breathtakingly good and I'm left in awe. A deserved win, sir.

5/27/11

Peru Prez Poll Friday May 27th: IOP/PUCP (trustworthy) puts Keiko a tiny % ahead

This survey just came from IOP/PUCP, a pretty trustworthy source and notably the poll isn't attached to any Peru newspaper or media source. Here's the headline chart:

We got Keiko leading Ollanta again but this poll is WAY closer than recent ones from other companies...a real live too-close-to-call, with nine days to go. Sunday will see the final big crop of polls before the one week pre-election period when no polls can be published there. Then the vote, Sunday June 5th. Then they can all STFU...please.


The Friday OT: Talking Heads; Blind

The video which best sums up Peru's election campaign.



From the Heads' last album, the underrated 'Naked', and dedicated to reader 'JS' in NYC for sharing his David Byrne anecdote once upon a few months ago. I'm still way jealous, dude.

Puno this morning

A short note from local Puno media "Los Andes", linked here and translated by your humble scribe:


The panorama in the city of Puno is devastating at this time. Empty streets, closed markets, public buildings destroyed, the population nervous after the social protest yesterday descended into violence.
Public telephones have also been attacked and windows of private buildings such as hotels and restaurants have been smashed.


The customs and immigration office (Aduanas) in the city of Puno is destroyed, with damage wherever you look. Cars destroyed, doors broken, furniture borken and littered about the floor and warehouses broken into all through last night.


Police presence yesterday in the customs and immigration office was practically zero. It's not known what will happen in the next few hours in the city while the population is still covered in uncertainty.

Chart of the day is....

...gold these last five days, because without making screaming headlines it's done just fine and put in a good week.

And that's good.

5/26/11

6pm in Puno Peru and a full scale pitched battle is underway between protesters and police

Things are not good in and around the main square of the city of Puno. Tear gas currently being used against the protesters, who in turn have raided/sacked government offices. Reports of buildings partly on fire as well. There's also a truck burning in the square, set on fire by the protesters.

In IKN106, May 15th, I wrote the following words. Sadly, I was right.
I’ve seen this movie before, ladies and gentlemen, it does not have a happy ending and no matter whether you approve or disapprove of the protesters, these people are quite willing to make this into a long-standing roadblock and aggravate authorities until troops are sent in and blood is shed

Update: Pleasant little evening bonfire...made from the furniture taken from the Puno tax office. H/T gabo_el

Sketchy reports of government workers being taken hostage, too. (Update on this...seemingly unfounded)


Now 7:30pm and reports of calm returning to the streets.


More pretty bonfires in the centre of Puno tonight





8:15pm Peru time (that's 9:15pm EST): Things are now worse, with reports that the local branch of the customs and immigration office (located just off the main square) is on fire, blazing away from many windows and on the way to near total destruction. Protesters have blocked the roads around the offices and won't let anyone through to put out the flames. Just down the road, reports are of looting in a electrical appliances store (white goods, etc)

It's Kaption Kompetition Time!

Main dude Setty found this over at the propublica blog and sent your humble servant the link. It's so but so very but very good that the only thing for it is to do A KAPTION KOMPETITION (insert multiple exclamation marks here):


So c'mon dudettes and dudes, get yer thinking caps on and tell us what Dominique Strauss-Kahn, Barry or 'Chelle (or combo of or all) are saying in this photo from 2009. Send in your best shot to.....

otto.rock1 AT gmail DOT com

...and we'll run the winner in 48 hours. As for a prize, your author gives the winner U$50 to the charity or good cause of choice (preferably by PayPal). Have at it, begad!

Bear Creek (BCM.v): Last night in Puno

This photo was taken at 4am this morning and the temperature at the time, I am reliably informed, was minus 6ºc. There were around 5000 people in this plaza and another 3000 in the plaza 300m away (also reliable info from eyewitnesses).


I'm amazed by the idiots up North that think this problem is going to go away and that BCM.v will get its permit to operate Santa Ana. Unimaginable depths of ignorance about South America on display by people with far more money than sense. Yeah I'm talking about you, dumbass Canadian equities analyst.

Rio Alto (RIO.v): Looks like Albino's call got its reaction

We put up the GMP report as part of this post yesterday. Since then, the stock has done this:

From $2.29 to $2.61, an upmove of 14%. George Albino must be pretty pleased with it all.

UPDATE: I'm sorry, did I say $2.61....?

Peru Prez Poll: Datum says Keiko stretching her lead

A new poll out today by Datum and published in Peru 21 has Keiko up half a point from last Sunday. Here's the chart that shows today's numbers (red) and last weekend's poll (grey).

Note that the Datum/Peru 21 combo is known to be anti-Humala in nature and more reasonable pollster Ipsos/Apoyo had Keiko's lead at under three points last weekend. With that said, the trend shown here can't be good for Humala. The latest Datum poll was taken on May 22nd, asked 1214 people on a national urban/rural basis and has a margin of error of +/- 2.8%. Data from here.

Chart of the day is....

...the US Dollar:

And now, get ready to have fun with your own personal fave goldbug tinfoilhat conspiracy theorist. Instructions as follows:

1) Approach tinfoilhat goldbug knucklehead of choice.
2) Point out to him/her that recently, when the dollar went up so did gold.
3) Point out to him/her that today the flipside is also true, the dollar is dropping and so is gold.
4) Remind your preferred target about all those time s/he told you about the massive financial conspiracy and how rocketing gold in the face of a plummeting dollar would save us all from the death spiral and all that jazz.
5) Finally, ask said goldbug to explain the current situation. For extra bonus fun, ask your goldbug to explain without using the following words/phrases: "Illuminati", "Sinclair", "Weimar", "Rothschild" "Vampire Squid", "Fiat currency", "Ron Paul".

5/25/11

Nicaragua polling for the 2011 Presidential election

Out just a few minutes ago is the Cid/Gallup Latinoamérica voter intention poll for Nicaragua's Presidential election, due to happen November 6th this year. Here's the chart...


...and incumbent Daniel Ortega is ahead. Second place ten points behind is radio station owner (hmm...that might be useful in the campaign) and congress member Fabio Gadea. Third comes ex Prez Arnoldo Alemán, who did the job between 1997 and 2002 and for some reason wants to do it again and the rest are noise. Data from here.

Rio Alto (RIO.v): GMP's George Albino puts a $5.75 price target on RIO.v


Not so often that you get a Canadian brokerage analyst sticking such a high upside target on a gold stock, but that's what happened today with George Albino of GMP (along with associate Matthew Sheppard). The stock is Rio Alto Mining (RIO.v) (disclosure, your humble scribe is long RIO.v so generally agrees with the call) and Albino says it's going to $5.75, which represents an upside of 151% to the $2.29 of right here right now.

You can read the whole analysis note by clicking here and downloading your copy, but here's the front page blurb to get you in the mood. DYODD, dudettes and dudes.

Home Team Advantage at La Arena

Rio Alto’s key asset is the La Arena gold/gold-copper project in northern Peru – it is located in a highly mineralized area which includes Barrick’s 1mm oz/yr Lagunas Norte mine - Rio purchased the property from IAMGold.
 
We believe that RIO, as a brand new producer, represents a de-risked development story trading at early development-stage multiples. In our view the company’s current market valuation is supported by the base case oxide dump leach project (which poured its first gold on May 6).
 

We see 3 principal sources of upside - the potential for significantly higher grades in the oxide deposit, development of the deeper copper-gold project and the significant exploration targets elsewhere on the La Arena.
 

La Arena – already producing with tonnes of porphyry potential
 

La Arena is located in northern Peru - infrastructure is outstanding and the mine lies immediately on a (mainly) paved road that links the mining town of Huamachuco. A major power line crosses the mine property within a few kilometers of the La Arena pit – there is sufficient capacity on this line with low (probably <$0.06/kwh) costs.
 

At the 24k tpd rate and at the average reserve grade of 0.44g/t, gold production is expected to average 100k oz/yr. Production guidance for calendar 2011 is for 75k oz. LOM production, based on current reserves, is projected at 640k oz.
 

Past work by Rio Alto suggests that grades obtained by diamond drilling may significantly understate actual in situ gold grade. During the early years of production at its nearby Lagunas Norte mine, Barrick indicated that actual mining grades were often significantly higher than reserve grade.
 

The porphyry copper-gold deposit provides, in our view, most of the value at La Arena. The company expects to complete a feasibility study by year-end 2012, and anticipates production beginning in 2015. The PFS study by Coffey Mining examined a 24k tpd project that is expected to cost approximately $300mm to build and would give annual production of 60m lb/yr copper and 31k oz/yr gold over 21 years mining a 180m tonne deposit with an extremely low 1.1:1 stripping ratio.
 

We reiterate that, in our opinion, the oxide project alone supports the current market cap of the company and that the real driver of the share price is in the copper-gold project. We also believe the election in Peru will end speculation on the potential impact of a socialist incumbent. We initiate coverage of Rio Alto with a BUY rating and a $C5.75 target price representing 75% of our NAV6% using GMP commodity prices.


CONTINUES HERE

IFRS accounting: Learn all there is to learn right here

The changeover to the new IFRS accounting standards has caused plenty of question marks in the investment community, especially (according to my mailbox at least) in the junior and exploration mining sector. This humble corner of cyberspace therefore recommends that you click on the following link and get your absolutely free and no-strings attached copy of the PDF offered up by EPICOR entitled "Smooth transition: Preparing for IFRS" that will tell you all you need to know about the subject. This is useful source material for anyone that has so far been confused about the changes in accounting procedures and reporting, so get yours today. Here's the blurb:
subscribe
Smooth Transition: Preparing for IFRS
"Smooth Transition: Preparing for IFRS"
 
Find out everything you need to know about International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) format. 
 
The SEC proposes that 2014 be the first year for US registered companies to file their financial statements in International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) format. This executive brief covers how to effectively manage this upcoming transition to IFRS. You will learn how to form the IFRS transition team, set the roles of the IFRS project team members and use your Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software to manage this transition. 
 
Offered Free by: Epicor Software Corporation 

Other Resources from: Epicor Software Corporation

A Flash update...

...went out to subscribers about 15 minutes ago, a hour before the opening bell, containing news'n'views on three stocks we're watching closely in these heady days, plus confirmation that yesterday's purchases happened. Your humble scribe hopes that the info contained is useful.

Chart of the day is....

...the forex market for the Peruvian Nuevo Sol (PEN) versus the US Dollar (USD):

They might have had a bit of a scare back there in March and April, but these days the forex jocks are pretty darned certain that Keiko wins, are they not?

5/24/11

Oil and the children of Bolivar

Now here's a story that hasn't been given much air time in English language media....yet.
But that might just change....soon
And become...very big.

It all depends...on Hugo (cue bwahahahah laughing sounds and spooky music).

Go to Setty's Notebook here and here to get a concise and nice rundown of the sanctions imposed today on Venezuela by the USA. For sure they're not very strong sanctions but, as Setty rightly says, "Basically, weak sanctions. But still, US sanctions on Venezuela. Expect fireworks."

And indeed, it sure looks like Hugo & Co. aren't going to take this lying down. Oil Minister Rafael Ramirez is appearing on live TV right now and he's already said that although Venezuela won't cut oil supplies to Citgo, it may cut sales to other outlets in the USA. And as for Hugo himself, here's a link to the tweet he put out less than an hour ago (as your humble scribe writes), the translation of which is:

 "Sanctions against Bolivar's Fatherland? Imposed by the imperialist gringo government? 
Well, they're welcome, Mr. Obama! Don't forget that we are the children of Bolivar!"

We've had the right wing in the US calling for sanctions against Venezuela for the longest time and Dubya never took the bait. But here we are with the USA under a CommieLefty President and the far right have got what they wanted all this time. Meanwhile, your author has that old refrain going round his head of "Careful what you wish for....."

UPDATE: This just out of the Venezuelan Embassy  in the USA
Statement

Venezuela Rejects U.S. Sanctions Against PDVSA

Published: 05/24/2011 
The Government of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela has learned of the decision announced by the Department of State of the United States  to impose sanctions against our oil national company, Petróleos de Venezuela (PDVSA), as part of a unilateral law targeting the Islamic Republic of Iran known as CISADA.
The Bolivarian Government expresses its strongest rejection to this decision since it constitutes a hostile action on the fringes of international law that violates the principles of the Charter of the United Nations.
The Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela and its revolution have a strong, independent and sovereign oil industry able to operate and permanently fulfill its commitments. Faced with this aggression, Venezuela further ratifies its oil independence and sovereignty.
The Government of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela is undertaking a general assessment of the situation to determine how these sanctions affect the operational capacity of our oil industry and, therefore, the supply of 1.2 million barrels of oil per day to the U.S.  Pending this assessment, the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela reserves itself the most adequate answer to this imperialist aggression.
The revolutionary Government calls on all the Venezuelan people, laborers and especially the oil workers, to stay alert and mobilized in defense of our PDVSA and the sacred sovereignty of the homeland.
Caracas, May 24, 2011
Ministry of People’s Power for Foreign Affairs

Feel free to mail me about any subject, as I do enjoy a good discussion

But first, read this. Via Critical Thinkers and Kid Dynamite (h/t to both)


Bear Creek (BCM.v): Compare and contrast

1) Bear Creek's CEO this morning:

"Bear Creek has received strong local community support on our Santa Ana project..."

2) A video of the 10,000 people in the regional capital, Puno, to protest the presence of BCM.v at Santa Ana yesterday.


You be the judge.

UPDATE: Question for Andrew Kaip of BMO and Brad Humphrey of Raymond James, both of whom came out with "hmmm, maybe a small problem but nothing to worry about" calls on BCM.v this morning (and between them probably caused that early morning spike to $7.60):

"Feeling stupid yet, dudes?"


Subscribers: Expect an update mail on BCM this evening.

UPDATE 2: I've been told to put the following up by a subscriber, so I will. We first featured this story in IKN105 for subscribers and told them to be careful about BCM.v, but the excerpt below is from the article on BCM.v in IKN106, dated May 15th, when the Weekly warned subscribers of trouble to came at BCM.v and we even set an entry point target of $6.50 for the stock...which turned out to be exactly 9c too high as BCM bounced off a $6.41 low. Just luck I guess....

"...considering the smaller size of Santa Ana (see reserve/resource table here below) and offsetting that with its (theoretical at least) shorter timeline to production (Santa Ana is due commissioned in 2012 according the official company literature at least), your author currently weights around 25% to 30% of BCM.v valuation in this project. It is in trouble and the recent share price discount reflects that, but the feeling is that the market hasn’t fully grasped the depth of the trouble for BCM due to this protest that is not going to go away and is on course to halt development either indefinitely or definitively. So although the company has seen some discount, if your author’s read on this story is correct and Santa Ana becomes a no-go project there’s good reason to expect further selling in BCM and therefore a potential entry point of $6.50 on bad news is around the place where I’d consider a value entry position, this based on a rough 15% discount to current prices. This isn’t some hard-and-fast target price, but more like a marker that will do just fine for the time being."

And then this is an excerpt from IKN107, last Sunday May 22nd:

"...as mentioned last week, I have a scratched out $6.50 price point as a potential for entry based on the larger and politically much less risky Corani project (which is still in the region of Puno but in a much safer location). If it takes two weeks or six months to reach that $6.50 level, there’s no particular problem here as I’m not long and have no rush to take up a position either. It remains to be seen how the market reacts to today’s news that they will be holding on to a dead money situation through a volatile election and into the next six months at least, something that also definitively scuppers company plans for the previously projected start of mining in 2012 at Santa Ana.
 

Final point: Why this ongoing coverage about BCM.v? Because there’s a chance of getting in cheap on the world-class Corani project here, that’s all."

Goldman (GS) calls bull on commodities (again)

Find on this link your very own download of the Goldman PDF out this morning (Tues May 24) saying loveydovey things about commodities going forward, but as a sample here's some of the script:

May 24, 2011

Turning more bullish as supply-shock concerns fade

Although near-term downside risk remains as markets adapt to a slower growth environment with supply-shock concerns fading, we now believe that the risk/reward once again favours being long commodities. Accordingly, we are shifting back to a near- to medium-term overweight recommendation, reiterating our long-term overweight and recommending fresh longs in oil, copper and zinc.


We remain structurally bullish commodities
Although we remain structurally bullish and have long argued the structural case for being long, timing does remain critical. This was evident in the recent market correction, which brought commodities down roughly 10% from their April highs. With prices now more inline with near-term fundamentals and price targets, we believe that the risk/reward once again favours being long commodities. Although the economy has likely shifted into a slower, but sustained, growth environment, we continue to expect that economic growth will likely be sufficient to tighten key supply constrained markets in 2H2011, leading to higher prices from current levels.
 

Raising oil price targets on persistent impacts from MENA events
We expect that the ongoing loss of Libyan crude oil production and disappointing Non-OPEC production will continue to tighten the oil market to critical levels in early 2012, with rising industry cost pressures likely to be felt this year. We are now embedding in our forecasts that Libyan production losses will lead to the effective exhaustion of OPEC spare capacity by early 2012. This raises our year-end Brent crude oil price forecast to $120/bbl from $105/bbl, our 12-month forecast to $130/bbl from $107/bbl and our end-2012 forecast to $140/bbl from $120/bbl.
 

Mid-cycle pause nearing a trough, creating upside to metal prices.
While a sharp decline in world economic growth remains a downside risk to commodity prices, we see the current slowdown in economic growth as part of a normal mid-cycle pause, partially driven by higher commodity prices, and therefore not a reason to expect commodity prices to decline substantially. Further, we believe that the recent evidence of economic weakness represents signs of a slowdown and not a downturn, which is reinforced by signs that Chinese metal demand has already returned with the SHFE-LME copper arb opening again, exchange inventories declining and the Shanghai copper forward curve moving into backwardation.

It then goes on to call long on things like copper gold and oil, but for me the most interesting call out of the Vampire Squid this morning is the new long call on zinc. Go read it for yourself to find out more.

Chart of the day is....

...copper, May 13th to date.

Not much doubt that it's the most interesting metal on the market right now. Call me a fool, but I'm buying a copper junior this morning.

5/23/11

Bear Creek Mining (BCM.v): There will be blood

The protest of locals against the presence of Bear Creek Mining (BCM.v) at its Santa Ana project  in Puno Peru is now two weeks old and according to news reports, all roads are shut down tight and some 500 trucks are stuck on the border of Peru and Bolivia because of the blockages. Add to that the so-called 'high level commission' that went to the Puno region to try and mediate and sort the mess out last week, only to bug out after one day because the commission members got spooked by the 5000 strong anti-mining crowd that came to gently greet them in the city of Puno

And so yesterday evening we had a new development. Stuck on the last page of this document of military executive decrees and signed into effect yesterday Sunday May 22nd is this little segment of loveliness:

And for those of you not versed in the tongue of Cervantes, that says:
Sunday May 22nd 2011
Executive Power
Defense
R.S Nº 191-2011-DE- Authorizes the intervention of the armed forces to aid the Peru National Police Force in the district, province and department of Puno

As this order was published yesterday, it came into effect today and lasts until June 11th and amongst other powers it gives the right of the military to fire live rounds at its own people. In other words, President Twobreakfasts just authorized the entry of troops to clear the roadblocks made by protesters and if anyone out there gets an immediate flashback memory to a town called Bagua a couple of years ago or a protest at Tia Maria this year, you'll know what's likely to happen next unless the locals don't back down.

And all it takes is a cursory glance at the newsflow to understand that they won't back down, so prepare for a very nasty case of bad publicity, BCM.v IR people. DYODD and don't mess with the Aymara.

Argentina's Presidential Election: The polls

Peru isn't the only South American Presidential race this year, as Argentina also goes to the polls in Presidential, regional and congressional elections in October (and if we add in Central America, there's Nica and Guat, too). But over in the Argentina race it's a different story to the too-close-to-callness in Peru. Here are the latest polling numbers from three Argentina pollsters, CEOP, Ricardo Rouvier and Ibarómetro:

So even though she hasn't even thrown her hat into the ring officially, incumbent President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner is a mile ahead in the running and in all probability will win in the first round (as Argentina's rules state that if you get more than 40% in the first round of votes and your nearest opposition is more than 10% behind you, you win). Behind Cristina come Ricardo Alfonsín, son of the ex-Prez Raúl, ex-Pres Eduardo Duhalde, eternal candidate Elisa Carrió and ex-Prez for about a day and a half (remember that back in 2001?) Adolfo Rodríguez Saá.

Date from here

Chart of the day is....

...Colombia's International Currency Reserves, January 2000 to date:


Because we're back doing requests in this segment. There you go, 'BY', enjoy.

5/22/11

Peru Prez Poll: Ipsos/Apoyo calling Keiko slightly ahead

Again, this one is valid votes only and again we include last week's numbers as a reference on the chart:

Ipsos/Apoyo is arguably the most reliable pollster in Peru and the result is basically the same as last week. This one is going down to the wire. More details here, including overall voter intention numbers of 43% Keiko, 39% Ollanta, spoil ballot 11% and undecided 7%.

Note to subbers: The above fits in with the sentiment and calls expressed today in the Weekly.

The IKN Weekly, out now


IKN107 has just been sent to subscribers. For what it's worth, your humble scribe's main planned trade this week is to buy three stocks as a short-term trade (most unusual for a publication that normally focusses on 12 month rides), stay with them for one month long and then sell all three...only time will tell if those sales happen at a profit or a loss. Methinks ducks are coming into line in the shorter term. Quack quack.

Celebrating May 22nd

To award you all for being alive and to console the 200 million or so world citizens that might be a bit miffed about being around on earth instead of hanging at the Elysian Fields, let's do a silly Sunday totally OT video.


This is great because
1) It's short
2) It's two guys goofing off
3) You just can't script what happens
4) Nobody gets hurt in any meaningful way
5) It's plain funny.

So take 51 seconds out of your morning and have a giggle yourself as two idiots go at the old Mentos plus Diet Coke trick.

Peru Prez Polls: Latest result shows stagnation

Just a few minutes ago we had the first weekend poll result out of Peru for the June 5th second round election, from pollster Idice. Here's a chart:


Yup, it's exactly the same numbers as the Idice poll for this time last week, with valid votes calling 51.9% for Keiko Fujimori and 48.1% for Ollanta Humala. So as Idice is likely favouring Keiko slightly (it's a business, dude...don't be naïve) and it was sponsored for this one by a pro-Keiko newspaper (El Expreso, the type of daily that makes National Enquirer look like Pulitzer material), we just have to keep on calling this tight Presidential race exactly that. It's still too close to call, folks.

There will be more polls released today from more reliable companies. Those will make it as comment into this afternoon's IKN Weekly, issue 107, along with the usual chunk of ongoing advice for those exposed to Peru markets (last week's call was right on the button, FWIW). DYODD, dude.