Monday, August 31, 2009

Right now it's Sept 1st 2009, 04:45am in Poland

70 years ago to the minute, Germany fired the opening shots in its invasion of Poland.

The rest, as they say..............................

New Zealand Accountancy Methods: A User's Guide

From the TMF Glow Bull Gains twitterfeed, we're brought a dialogue between PGG Wrightson (New Zealand's biggest agro supplies company) and the New Zealand Stock Exchange regulators. The problem concerns a sidebar note in the company's end of year annual financial report.

Here's the link and here's the paydirt:

NZ Farming Systems Uruguay Ltd – Annual Financial Statement

August 26, 2009

Julian Daly
NZ Farming Systems Uruguay Limited
57 Waterloo Road
Christchurch 8042

by email:

Dear Julian

NZ Farming Systems Uruguay Limited - Annual Financial Statements

We refer to the Annual Financial Statements and Audit Report (“Financial Statements”) of NZ Farming Systems Uruguay Limited (“NZS”), released today, 26 August 2009.

Note 3 to the Financial Statements, regarding depreciation, included the comment “fudge this to equal depn in FA note 11 $2391 - via no ca” (“the comment”). The comment has caused NZX, and the market, concern that the Financial Statements may not be accurate. In this regard, please respond to the following questions:

What exactly is meant by the comment and why is it included?
Please confirm that the figure included for depreciation is true and accurate in all material respects.
Please confirm that the Financial Statements of NZS give a true and fair view of the financial performance of NZS as at 30 June 2009 and its financial performance and cash flows for the year ended that date.

Please respond to this letter by 9:00am Thursday 27 August 2009. Please note that your response to this letter may be released to market.

Yours faithfully

Caroline Young
Head of Market Supervision


Dear Caroline

NZ Farming Systems Uruguay Limited (NZS) – Annual Financial Statements

We refer to your letter of 26 August 2009 regarding the Financial Statements and Audit Report released on the same date for the annual period ending 30 June 2009.

We respond to the questions you have raised as follows:

1. The comment was a personal file note included in an earlier working draft of the notes to the Financial Statements. The file note was made as a prompt to reconcile a minor rounding difference between the cash-flow reconciliation note 3 and the fixed assets note 11 in respect of depreciation expense for the period. Importantly the comment was not in the Financial Statements reviewed and approved by the Board of Directors of NZS or its auditors.

While the comment was deleted from the final version of the Financial Statements tabled for approval by the Board of Directors; it was inadvertently retained in the results released to NZX, notwithstanding that the reconciliation had been completed. This was purely an administrative oversight. While the words in the comment were not well chosen, they were merely a prompt for the author of the Financial Statements to reconfirm the rounding difference expressed in an early draft of the Financial Statements where there was a minor rounding discrepancy. This reconciliation issue was resolved in the final checking of the Financial Statements against the supporting notes.

2. We confirm that the depreciation figure included in the Financial Statements is true and accurate in all material respects. Please refer to the comments in item 3 below regarding the process employed in relation to the preparation and approval of the Financial Statements.

3. We confirm that the Financial Statements give a true and fair view of the financial position of NZS as at 30 June 2009 and its financial performance and cash flows for the year ended on that date. NZS has followed a robust and thorough process in preparing the Financial Statements. This has involved preparation and verification of financials by the internal management team and Chief Financial Officer, review and approval by the NZS Audit Committee, review and approval by the Board of Directors and audit by PricewaterhouseCoopers.

While the inclusion of the comment in the Financial Statements is regrettable and disappointing given the rigorous and thorough process that has been adopted in their preparation, we would assure NZX and the market that the comment should not be a cause for concern regarding the accuracy of the Financial Statements. The file note comment was added to a working draft of the Financial Statements and was subsequently overlooked.

As soon as the issue came to our attention, steps were taken to immediately correct the oversight and re-release the corrected Financial Statements to NZX. We have also reviewed our internal processes to establish how the issue arose. It would be our preference that NZX remove the Financial Statements originally posted on NZX.

Finally, we note that NZS management team and its Board of Directors understand the importance of accuracy and integrity in their financial reporting obligations and wish to assure NZX that they take these obligations extremely seriously.

We hope that we have addressed the concerns raised in your letter and if there is any additional information that NZS can provide please do not hesitate to let us know.

We apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused.

Yours faithfully

Julian Daly
General Counsel / Company Secretary
PGG Wrightson Limited

Petrobras (PBR): And now they begin to believe me

On September 7th 2008, Petrobras stood at U$44.44 a share and your humble correspondent wrote this article called "Petrobras: Great for Brazil, not so great for shareholders" that finished up with this conclusion:

"It's at this point the plain, boring, simple fact that Petrobras is a state run company needs emphasizing. Bottom line results are not the be-all-and-end-all of PBR's corporate philosophy. Never have been and never will be. Do you honestly believe that the company will continue to pay enormous dividends to foreign shareholders while at the same time taking out massive debt lines to pay for the capex? If so, you are in for a rude awakening.

"So I'm still neutral on Petrobras stock. I'm reasonably bullish on the company and what it will do for Brazil in the long term future, but because shareholders are not the raison d'etre of PBR there's no reason why you or I should prefer it over CVX, COP, XOM or whatever other big oil strikes your fancy."

Cut to August 31st 2009, a share price 10% lower than a year ago at U$39.64, and the latest news from PBR.

Aug. 31 (Bloomberg) -- Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva unveiled a plan to increase state control of the oil industry, proposing regulations to help the country become one of the world’s 10 largest oil-producing nations.


Petrobras common shares tumbled the most in six months as the company said it may sell new stock to help finance its exploration. The plan raised concern among some investors that the government is seeking to increase its stake at the expense of minority shareholders.
Any further questions?

Zero Currency 4

August 31

Trading Post (cuddabin worse edition)

With Shanghai dropping 6.74% last night I was all ready for that BOHICA moment at the bell this morning, but despite the general negativity around things aren't that bad. Pass the Kool-Aid.

Dynasty ( up 1.2% at $3.42 and bits of volume, too. Value hunters out and about, with rumbles from down under about the mining regs coming out soon. Ahh, that wonderful word "soon" as applied to South America.

ECU Silver ( down 3.1% at $0.475. Hey, I got a great idea. I'll refuse to learn about finances, refuse to learn about reading balance sheets, then buy and then shake my fist at the illuminati market manipulators when my stock goes down. I'd feel sorry for these saps if it weren't for their potty mouths.

Riverside Resources (RRI.v) down 8.4% at $0.38 and this is the support zone where the value buy is made in this stock. Volumes traded tend to be low so patience is needed, but there's a trading profit to be made in this one here. Solid company, well managed.

Fortuna Silver (FVI.v) down 2% at $1.15. I could have chosen about three dozen examples of bellweather stocks showing general market feeling today and decided on FVI.v as the example. Volumes low-ish, small down move, nothing much going on. That's today in jr miners, folks.

Venezuela Parallel Exchange Rate Update

Here we go with the latest in this semi-regular series.

First the main chart, that of the VEF/USD parallel (permuta) exchange rate...

...and as things stand, you need VEF6.49 to buy a dollar on the streets of Caracas today. The recent news has been that Chávez&Co is now studying a new multibanded exchange rate system to take pressure off the official 2.15-to-1 fixed rate. Or put into simple English, as this blog predicted Venezuela is in the process of a currency devaluation. We also predicted that the deval wouldn't happen in the first half of the year, but run the risk of getting Argentines shouting "¿Che, no tenés abuela?"* if we start preening too much.

Anyway, back to the subject in hand. The driving force of the weakness in the VEF (as we've explained many a time) isn't inflation. The cause of inflation is the problem, and that's a monetary thing known as M2, which measures the amount of currency in circulation inside the country. Here's how M2 stands right now..

..with the VEF equivalent of U$101.79Bn sloshing round inside Venezuela. This amount of money is up from under U$90Bn (equivalent) at the beginning of April and explains why Venezuela's inflation rate stays stubbornly in the high 20s to 30% range. Put in the most basic terms, if you add 30% more money to a country there are 30% more pieces of folding paper trying to buy the same amount of goods, which means you'll find you're using 30% more of those folding pieces of paper to buy that thing you want to buy. Just good ol' fashioned supply and demand stuff, ask Adam Smith.

However, the Central Bank keeps a store of wealth that backs up the money in circulation. Called International Currency Reserves, it provides backbone to the fiat system. So if we look at the amount of reserves in Venezuela right now....

....we see they've tucked away U$31.45Bn. This means (and the calculation is pretty straightforward), for every single dollar the Central Bank keeps in reserve, there are 6.96VEF circulating in the country. This gives us our theoretical equilibrium point for the VEF/USD exchange rate.

So right now the rate is lower than the theoretical rate by about half a Bolivar Fuerte. This indicates that the financial brains out there in Venezuela expect good things from the government and its plans to tame the permuta. What IKN can say right now is that if the Vz gov't does devalue (or stealth devalue by adding different exchange's the same thing, really) the parallel rate will drop further as people see arbitrage value in buying dollars at a lower price and selling them higher. However if the Vz Econ team make a SNAFU of plans and the new devaluation system brings no extra flexibility to the exchange rate, the VEF parallel rate will certainly float back up to 7:1 and probably go higher still.


*"Hey, don't you have a grandmother?", an expression that says " grandmothers kiss you and love you, but it seems like you have to love yourself, so presumably you don't have a grandmother to do all that for you"

Ecopetrol (EC): One for short-term traders today

You want the following?
  • Short-term trading set up
  • Technicals that suit
  • Solid company in oil&gas sector

If so, check out Colombia's Ecopetrol (EC) today, as it just broke down through the technically important U$26 barrier, right now trading at U$25.90. DYODD on the rest, dudes.

Chart of the day is....

....Hugo Chávez's presidential approval ratings, monthly in 2009.

There are many surveys done in Venezuela on this subject, but with yesterday's Datanalisis survey results for July published it give us a chance to track one single (and reputedly reliable) survey company's results using the same question and same demographics every time.

We see that in the period January to March, Chávez won support through the constitutional amendment period (when there was no poll taken). No poll taken for April. Then his support dropped back down to what the boss of Datanalisis calls his "traditional support" of between 50% and 54%. This month it's moved back up to 57.3%. The negative views towards Chávez dropped from 41% in June to 38.8% in July. Presumably the other 13.9% are neutral towards him or offered no opinion.

Thus, if media channels were to reflect the true state of opinion in Venezuela, on average 573 out of every thousand news reports or articles should be supportive of Chávez, 388 should criticize him and 139 should take a neutral stance. Anybody note a slight discrepancy with reality there?

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Shanghai down 5% tonight...

...and dropping. Weak bank lending is the catalyst, apparently.

Shanghai Composite, three month chart

So the index is down over 20% in August, but don't let it worry you. They told you it's a bull market, remember? When have they ever lied to you?

An interesting read

Here's the link to the 191 page from the CIA Office of Inspector General entitled "Counterterrorism, Detention and Interrogation Activities, September 2001 to October 2003", written in May 2004 with 191 pages ready to read. A real pageturner, guaranteed to keep you enthralled right to the end.

Hey, why not download a copy? It's 17 mega big and so takes a while, but maybe it's one to keep for reading in your own time. H/T Miguel Olivera and his great blog

Uribe's plot to destabilize South America revealed

Uribe takes his Tamiflu by grinding up the pill into a
fine powder and sniffing...old habits die hard
(photo courtesy borev)

We now understand why President Alvaro Uribe of Colombia refused to attend to Ecuador UNASUR meeting but then just a couple of weeks later attended the Bariloche meeting that just ended. Uribe wanted to wait until he had a nasty case of swine flu before meeting, greeting, shaking and baking with all those commie devils that head up the other lands. So as it's now been confirmed that Uribe has AH1N1, expect other regional leaders to be confined to quarters as of this week.

And once they're all tucked up in bed part two of the CIA/Illuminati plot swings into action as Uribe leads multiple attacks using Colombian-based USAF F-16 jets to bomb every single presidential palace in South America, thus allowing the Honduran army to march in and take over the world...errrrr...I think.

Anyway, Uribe got da flu..the first part of the plan is in place.

UPDATE: Colombia Reports has the story in an English language report right here.

The IKN Weekly out now

Subscribers, IKN18 should be with you by now (a little earlier than usual). Any glitch or comment, you know where to find me.

Enjoy Sunday.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Today's must-read post on Honduras...

...comes from Honduras Coup 2009. Once again somebody who actually knows the country and knows what they're talking about shows how the coup apologists' arguments do not stand up to reason.

Otto got friend

aaaah! Jealous yet? I am

And friend got blog...and boat.

Some great photos of the idyllic pleasures of sailing up North on offer...well worth checking it out.

Ecuador and Chevron: What 'clash of cultures' really means

The LA Times is running a story today entitled "Chevron, Ecuador and a clash of cultures". It's a fairly good summary of the situation in the ongoing legal dispute from the environmental crimes 'allegedly' committed by Texaco/Chevron in Ecuador, the last paragraph summing up the mood:
"When the verdict is issued in Lago Agrio, it will prompt a round of appeals and other legal procedures, possibly in Ecuador and certainly in the United States, where Chevron has assets. The plaintiffs promise they will never give up. The company has assured investors that it will never pay. And the Amazon and its people will remain unhealed."
Which is sad but true. The article even tries to explain the concept of 'pachamama' a little further than the normally scant attention paid to it by English media, so that was quite nice. However the title got me thinking that calling it all a 'clash of cultures' is pretty stupid, as the only culture clash going on here is "We crapped on your culture in a way we'd never do to our own culture". And that's all you need to know about culture in this case. Good story, bad title.

The Amerikan Dream comes to Peru

CONSUME MORE! is the answer to all our prayers these days, and the fact that a reader yesterday sent me this link to the great Janis Joplin singing 'Oh Lord won't you buy me a Mercedes Benz?'......

..... fits nicely with the story below.

Peru's Minister of Production, Mercedes* Araoz, spent yesterday exhorting her minions to "drink more Peruvian coffee" as per capita coffee consumption in Peru is around 0.25kg a year, which compares to 5kg in Brazil and about 14 metric tonnes in Colombia**. In her words:

"If we in Peru consumed 5kg per person we would consume all our exportable supply. So we could double national production for the grain."

Mercedes Aráoz said that if a person gets up early the best thing to do is to have "a little coffee. It's a healthy drink, a good antioxidant and energizing. I drink it pure. Also, it's not true that it stops you from sleeping", she said.

So next we'll have Peru Chamber of Aviculture wheeling out Aráoz for its "Eat More Chicken" drive, the sugar cane people with their "Sweeter The Better" and "Diabetes Is Not A Problem, Oh No" campaigns, then the national council for chocolate cake and its "Stuff Your Face and Get Fat Your Country Will Thank You For It" promotional tour. And so the emerging market countries raise their GDP and are applauded as they aspire to the model offered by all those developed world wondercountries.

The more you consume the better your life is.

Then comes the fitness club sector and diet foods....more GDP! And healthcare! And insurance! Ahh, ain't life wonderful?

*shome coinshidensh, shurely, ossifer
**well....8kg in fact, but I like a laugh

Friday, August 28, 2009

Understatement of the Day Award goes to....

...Michael Warren of AP for the following paragraph from his report on the UNASUR Bariloche summit today.

Latin American leaders tend to be suspicious of foreign militaries in a region where U.S.-backed dictatorships killed and tortured their own citizens only decades ago. The unresolved coup in Honduras — by a military with close U.S. ties and training — worries them as well.

Though fair's fair, the report is a pretty good, balanced view of what went on today. And yes, I did say AP back there.

The Friday OT: AC/DC, Whole Lotta Rosie

A full strength straight shot of rock and roll from one of the world's best live bands.

In your face raw music, instantly recognizable voice, instantly recognizable guitar. Rock In Peace, Bon Scott. Keep on rocking Angus.

Peru GDP down 1.1% in 2q09

That's what Reuters (spanish language) said. As well as the headline number:
  • Investment down 24.6%
  • External demand down 6.3%
  • Internal demand down 5.4%

Economic miracle? The only miracle left is that people actually listen to Twobreakfasts.

Here's the link to the full 43 page INEI 2q09 for all the family.

Problem 350. Triangle, Cevian, Incircles, Tangents, Angles,Tangency Points

Proposed Problem
Click the figure below to see the complete problem 350 about Triangle, Cevian, Incircles, Tangents, Tangency Points, Angles.

 Problem 350. Triangle, Cevian, Incircles, Tangents, Tangency Points, Angles.
See more:
Complete Problem 350
Level: High School, SAT Prep, College geometry

Trading Post (naked capital edition)

Before moving to my crummy and myopic viewpoint of the big bad world of market (version Friday in late August) please check out this great post over at Naked Capitalism, "The Five Stages of Panic Buying". Essential headcheck material.

Jaguar Mining (JAG) up 9.1% at U$9.95. File this under WTFDIK, anyway?

Dynasty Metals ( up 4.9% at $3.46. Whaaat? It's finally rallying a bit? Oh oh oh, I feel all giddy. Hey dudes, when it doubles you'll remember me.

Amarillo Gold (AGC.v) down a penny at $0.74 and I happen to know for a factual fact that one of the smarter investor/readers that hangs round this humble corner of cyberspace bought all that Haywood could sell to him at 70c earlier today. Nice play, sir, you got yourself a real bargain there. DYODD, dudes.

Troy Resources ( up 4.4% at $1.91. You KNOW it's true. Highfives with Cormier, folks, that guy has the eye.

Minera Andes ( up a penny at $0.67 and once you're relaxed about the fact it's being suppressed, it's really quite funny to watch the scumballs at work. Hey, anyone think it might be HOC.L exacting revenge for McEwen's letter to shareholders? That'd be funnier still.

Gleichen Resources (GRL.v) up 1c at $0.74. Remember this one? Yeah, the one with Team Canada™ suddenly on board and buying out that cool Teck asset in Mexico? I own a few and there's a small but interesting snippet of news for subbers this weekend regarding it. DYODD.

MAG Silver ( (MVG) laughs at its shareholders again

MAG Silver (MVG) ( management yet again says one thing and does another. For the sake of CAD$38,850 (the gross profit on the deal), the CFO at MAG Silver prefers to send yet another "we prefer to sell our own stock to you saps" signal to the market.

MAG Silver Corp. (MAG)

As of August 27th, 2009
Filing Date Transaction Date Insider Name Ownership Type Securities Nature of transaction # or value acquired or disposed of Unit Price
Aug 27/09 Aug 11/09 Hallam, Frank Direct Ownership Common Shares 10 - Disposition in the public market -17,500 $5.220
Aug 27/09 Aug 11/09 Hallam, Frank Direct Ownership Common Shares 51 - Exercise of options 17,500 $3.000
Aug 27/09 Aug 11/09 Hallam, Frank Direct Ownership Options 51 - Exercise of options -17,500 $3.000

We also note in passing that CFO Frank Hallam prefers to ignore TSX directives and file his trades after the allotted time period of 10 trading days, just another example of the lack of respect shown to others by the people in charge of this directionless operation. So with another 438,000 or so options at $3,00 to dump on the market still left in his pocket, Hallam has plenty of ammunition to make money and further dilute the share base at the expense of the loyal retail sheep around him.

If it were only one or two occasions, then fair enough. But the insider selling has been non-stop all year as witnessed by these previous posts. Speaking of previous posts, back on December 4th 2008, just after the Fresnillo buyout offer came, your humble correspondent said the company was "dead meat" and according to my calculations the only documented case of resurrection in the last 2,000 years has not been added to by this company. Yet another example of how great rocks can be wasted by a mediocre, self-serving bunch in charge.


The UNASUR Bariloche Summit: What you need to know

Chart of the day is....

...from Desjardins (via a reader's mail..thank you A. Reader :-)

Now that's what Roubini's talking about with his "W". Any one with a sense of history cannot possibly be automatically bullish at this moment.

What has been will be again,
what has been done will be done again;
there is nothing new under the sun.
Ecclesiastes 1:9-14

There is nothing new under the sun but
there are lots of old things we don't know.
Ambrose Bierce, The Devil's Dictionary

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Computerworld Knowledge Centers Mind Map

Graphic organizers are visual representations of knowledge, concepts or ideas.
Click the figure below to see Computerworld Knowledge Centers, Interactive Mind Map.

 Computerworld Knowledge Centers, Interactive Mind Map.
Read more:
Computerworld Knowledge Centers Mind Map

Bolivia's right wing thugs resort to violence because.....

...they know they can't win by any democratic or fair means.

Today, Gallup International released the results of their survey on the December 6th Presidential elections. Here's how voter intention stands right now between the candidates for the job.
Let's be clear: This is not a tough one to call, folks.
(click to enlarge)

According to Gallup, even if the fractured and rabid opposition bandied together and united behind a single candidate, the Evo would still score at least 58% of the vote and possibly a lot more. Also important is the low number of undecided, as minds are already largely made up. Evo wins, period. Get used to the fact, wingnuts.

Also (and this is pretty impressive), according to Gallup, as things stand Evo wins the popular vote in every single one of the nine departments of Bolivia. Here's the chart of the region-by-region voter intention...

(click to enlarge)

..and even in the lowest polling department of Santa Cruz (natch) he gets enough to be top dog against a fractured opposition and would be neck and neck if opposition united. As it is, he scores over 50% of the vote in four regions, easily wins three, probably wins Beni whatever happens and only has any chance of losing amongst the fascists and Nazi-worshippers of Santa Cruz...y'know, the ones John Enders speaks so highly of all the time.

Here's a report that includes this from Gallup (translated):
"The theory of ethnic division (place an indigenous candidate against Evo to split the MAS party vote) has not gained any traction, as neither Víctor Hugo Cárdenas, René Joaquino or Román Loayza have any popular support. This simply ratifies a principle of any strategist "Whoever tries to copy the fortunate leader will always come second" and also a second basic fundamental; "Never underestimate the advantages of facing a divided opposition."

"Also, under the "non-critical conclusions", Gallup establishes that with the exception of Santa Cruz and Beni the opposition has no clear chances; Santa Cruz, Beni and Pando have split votes (between two and three opposition candidates; in Cochabamba and Potosí, Reyes Villa and Joaquino respectively have some regional power. Mathematically, adding opposition votes gives 36% versus 58% for Morales and this gives (Reyes Villa and Joaquino) some possibilities."

Now it wasn't so long ago that a certain blue-eyed whitey named Enders filed a report lauding the sellout Cuellar of Chuquisaca and trying to make out that indigenous vote-splitting tactics of the opposition were working. Jeesh what a dumbass that guy is, waltzing around a country without a single clue about how it feels, what it thinks and how it's embarrassing. So when will the English language reporters start to accurately reflect the opinions of the clear majority of Bolivians? Inquiring minds etc...

Josef Albers, Red Study, 1939 (ca.) and the Golden Rectangle

Golden Rectangle
Josef Albers (1888 - 1976) was a German-born American artist (geometric abstraction) and educator whose work, both in Europe and in the United States, formed the basis of some of the most influential and far-reaching art education programs of the 20th century.

Red Study, 1939 (ca.). Oil on blotting paper. JAAF: 1976.2.257 34.765 x 28.575 cm (13.687 x 11.25 inches).

Click the figure below to see the interactive illustration of Red Study.

Josef Albers, Red Study and Golden Rectangle.
Continue reading at:
Josef Albers, Red Study and the Golden Rectangle

Josef Albers, Study for Four X's, 1938

Golden Rectangle
Josef Albers (1888 - 1976) was a German-born American artist (geometric abstraction) and educator whose work, both in Europe and in the United States, formed the basis of some of the most influential and far-reaching art education programs of the 20th century.

Study for Four X's, 1938 (ca.). Glass, copper wire, latticework. JAAF: 1976.6.21 32.4 x 28.9 cm (12.75 x 11.375 inches).

Click the figure below to see the interactive illustration of Study for Four X's.

Josef Albers, Study for Four X's, 1938 and Golden Rectangle.
Continue reading at:
Josef Albers, Study for Four X's, 1938 and the Golden Rectangle

Josef Albers, Grid Mounted, 1921 and the Golden Rectangle

Josef Albers (1888 - 1976) was a German-born American artist (geometric abstraction) and educator whose work, both in Europe and in the United States, formed the basis of some of the most influential and far-reaching art education programs of the 20th century.

Click the figure below to see the interactive illustration of Grid Mounted, 1921.

Josef Albers, Grid Mounted, 1921 and the Golden Rectangle.
Continue reading at:
Josef Albers, Grid Mounted, 1921 and Golden Rectangles

Josef Albers Index

Josef Albers (1888 - 1976) was a German-born American artist (geometric abstraction) and educator whose work, both in Europe and in the United States, formed the basis of some of the most influential and far-reaching art education programs of the 20th century.

Click the figure below to see the Index.

Josef Albers Index.
Continue reading at:
Josef Albers Index

Josef Albers, Red and White, 1923 and the Golden Rectangle

Golden Rectangle
Josef Albers (1888 - 1976) was a German-born American artist (geometric abstraction) and educator whose work, both in Europe and in the United States, formed the basis of some of the most influential and far-reaching art education programs of the 20th century.

Red and White. Stained-glass window (destroyed) in antechamber of director's office executed by Albers for the first Bauhaus Exhibition Weimar, 1923.

Click the figure below to see the interactive illustration of Red and White, 1923.

Red and White by Josef Albers and Golden Rectangle.
Continue reading at:
Josef Albers, Red and White, 1923 and the Golden Rectangle

Argentina and the IMF: Just say no to drugs

The big economy news in Argentina this week.....

(No, wait, scrap that)

The big economy news in Latin America this week has been the talks between Argentina's economy team and the International Monetary Fund (IMF). Firstly, last week we had headline like this...

...from Bloomberg on the 20th. Then yesterday when the talks actually happened we had this....

...from the WSJ. Then suddenly today the tone has changed, with Argentina's new FinMin Boudou saying that...

...and that the country wouldn't allow conditions to be imposed upon it by the IMF lackeys. If that's true it will be a great weight off everybody's mind down this neck of the woods. Argentina may be one kooky country when it comes to finances and the Kirchner regime is going from bad to worse right now, but one of the better moves in its history happened when Neshtor&Co paid off the IMF debt and kicked them out of the country, slamming the door behind them. In the words of the Ex-Prez in 2005;
"There is life after the IMF, and it's a very good life.....being in the embrace of the IMF isn't exactly like being in heaven."
After what Argentina went through in the late 1990's under the IMF straightjacket which sent them tumbling over the cliff in late 2001, no country in the world knows better about the IMF's hidden agenda. So rather than wax any further lyrical, let's leave it to 'Larry' of the esteemed Argentine economics blog 'los tres chiflados' to tell you what professional, experienced, qualified and intelligent economists in Argentina think of the IMF. The following is the first part from the L3C blog today, well said indeed, Larry.

  • Accomplices* in the Latin American dictatorship in the 1970's
  • Accomplices in allowing de facto governments to go into debt in the 1980's
  • Accomplices in de-industrializing Latin America on the 1990's

The IMF has never looked after the interests of Latin America, it is simply another tool used by the USA for its foreign policy. The IMF finances in exchange for structural economic changes that only favour US economic interests: Open the economy, privatize, make government smaller, don't intervene in the economy (or in its negotiations), liberalize capital flows, don't intervene in the forex market, no trade barriers, no tariffs, liberalize the labour market (restrict rights), don't use generic drugs (so royalties are paid), more laws to cover patents etc etc. We already know the consequences.

To ask the IMF for money is to give in the the temptation of the carrot, is to be under the illusion, is to not recognize the power of the USA in the world, is to be naive about history.........

Trading Post (exclamative edition)

Editor's note: IKN is aware of the unusual high frequency of dubious punctuation used in recent articles, with four exclamations and one question mark in the title lines of the last eight posts. The editorial board at IKN would like to apologize for this lapse into hyperbole and assures its valued readership that its normal measured, mature tone will resume as soon as possible. Thank you for your attention.

Chariot Resources ( down 7% at $0.40 on this news which basically says a big, influential player in the world of Chariot is going to vote for the present board and against the dissident proxy headed up by Lukas Lundin on Sept 4th. The funniest line is the one says; "We also believe that shareholders should be mindful of the relative underperformance of Lundin Mining's share price". OUCH! LOL! ¡Tomate eso, hijo-de-grande! All this is fun to watch from the sidelines as we're cashed in on the trade already. Ah lurve it when mineheads get catty.

Castle Gold (CSG.v) up 1.8% at $0.58. Subscribers got a message about this stock before the bell this morning, as well as a quick note on..

....Troy Resources ( up a penny at $1.83. Troy announced its year-end profit of A$16.7m overnight in Oz. Nice number for a company with near-term growth baked in. We heart TRY, too.

Minera Andes down 2.9% at $0.67 on higher than normal volumes again, the fun continuing. This is one for traders to keep a sharp eye upon sez me.

Pediment Gold ( down 3.8% at $0.77. The ask at $0.79 is a nice price and the company has a line in the sand right at this 77c to 79c mark. We like this stock for high risk high reward fancymoney. Solid management team.

I heart XKCD

The world's finest webcomic is linked down there on the bottom right, but here's a headsup on the last three editions cos they're all sublime:

Here's today's..

...but please check out Tech Support Cheat Sheet and the math gag called Newton and Leibniz, both from this week. Wonderfully wonderful.

Venezuela Breaking News! Subversive German Bankers Topple TheFreeWorld™ Propaganda Campaign

Those pesky so-and-sos at Deutsche Bank have only gone and upgraded their recommendation on Venezuelan dollar bonds. And not only that, check out the reasoning. Here's Bloomie:
Aug. 27 (Bloomberg) -- Venezuelan sovereign bonds, the world’s highest-yielding behind Ecuador, were raised to “overweight” from “neutral” at Deutsche Bank AG because returns have become more attractive.

(DB wrote that) “The continued improvement in economic data gives justification for optimism”

Dammit guys, how the hell is the constant propaganda campaign about the imminent demise of Venezuela's economy supposed to work if you people start "investigating" and coming up with "facts"? You're going to have Moises Naim and Ricardo Hausmann phoning you up and giving you a mouthful today, I'd bet.

Revealed! Rusoro CEO André Agapov's secret double life!


Reader 'SM' sent over a link to this post on Stockhouse by Lexluthor2. Lex says:
I can swear this either him or his younger brother in the video playing the guitar.
Well Lex, on further investigation IKN can confirm your smart observation. Indeed, the guitarist in the band Los Colorados is in fact André Agapov, CEO and head honcho of Russky-Canucky-Venezuelan..y gold mining company Rusoro Mining (RML.v). So sit back and enjoy the multi-talented Agapov as he rocks da house on this cover version of Hot'N'Cold by Kate Perry.

Fabulous stuff, André, we're proud of you.

Shenanigans at Minera Andes ( five day chart, 1 minute bars: Not easy to
read, but has all those 500 share trades showing

One of the nice things about running this blog is that over its lifetime it has attracted some pretty sharp market observers as readers that are often kind enough to share their opinions with your scribe. Yesterday I received a mail from reader 'AP', who has noticed the same thing as your humble correspondent these last couple of days about trading in Minera Andes ( Here are extracts from his mail:
Hello Otto,

At the end of trading, for the last couple of days, there was always someone dumping a big number of shares on the market, this pattern looks somehow suspicious to me. .

Do you think there could be some importance to those trades at the end of the trading day or is it just some kind of coincidence in your eyes? Thanks in advance for your opinion.

Best regards,
Here's my reply to 'AP':
Yep I'd noticed too. I think you're right and someone wants a lid kept on the suppression is done by multiple 500 share blocks, too (the minimum number required for a price change to be registered.

Note volumes are high recently (1.5m in two days). I think it adds up to somebody wanting in for a nice, big chunk at these prices. Not a bad pattern and one not to worry about.
And sure enough, this morning we're seeing the same sort of action. The fact that the multiple trades are going through in blocks of 500 shares is also significant, as any number less than 500 is classed as a small lots trade by the TSX and doesn't register any price change in the stock. Also, all these 500 share lots are sold by our old friend "anon" and bought by house 7, TD Sec.

Funny coincidence that, innit?

The bottom line is that is being sat on here, folks. That means things look good for a short term trade, because once the bigger player has decided the sitting-upon chapter is over, the stock will pop back up, just like the metaphorical cork held under water.

DYODD, dude.

Chart of the day is....

..LME copper (again). Obsessive? Moi?

All I'm saying here is that the US Dollar is the whole ballgame and if it suddenly decides to get stronger, copper has no visible means of support. The hedgies bidding up Cu on their "copper is an asset class" nonsense will yet again get a lesson in reality.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Trading Post (after hours edition)

Just for a change, Trading Post appears after the closing bell today.

Fortuna Silver (FVI.v) down 1.7% at $1.14 and taking a day off from its very cool bull run. The HUI and XAU indices were down today so following peers here, it seems. Plenty of upside available according to our new target (as seen in the weekly..charts and everything...pretty colours, too).

Ecometals (EC.v) down 3.9% at $0.49, and the suckers' pump of the month down from the 58c printed Monday. A stock strictly for the Icarus Syndrome sufferers amongst us, not for adults. By the way, nobody took me up on the "permit by end of month is bullshit" challenge. C'mon shillers, the month's not over yet...any takers?

Ecopetrol (EC) down 1.9% at U$26.88. The other "EC" stock in LatAm is a bigger and better fish altogether. EC is closing in on what looks like a solid support level at U$26, so this is a headsup for you flippy-tradery people out there. Nice to say good things about Colombia here, as EC is a well run company.

Hathor (HAT.v) down 2.6% at $1.48. "Zed's dead, baby..Zed's dead."

ECU Silver ( down 2% at 48c. Don't say I didn't warn you. Woof woof woof.

Dynasty Metals ( up 4.4% at $3.29. I'd like to tell you that volumes were great too, but I can't. They weren't. Again. Despite the pisspoor interest good to note the % difference, so if it holds on to gain mañana it might be worth thinking that the bottom is in this time. Again. Humph. A reminder; is the best fundy value in gold out there today imho.

Does Peter Mullens read IKN?

Smile for the camera please, Peter

So back on August 17th, this humble corner of cyberspace noted some serious insider selling going on by Peter Mullens, director of Lydian International ( He'd sold on some good news about drill results at LYD which left us all scratching our chins and going "hmmmmmmmmmm".

But fair is as fair does, so let's note that Mullens has already bought back 127,000 of the 350k shares he sold into the rush. Let's also note he bought back his stock on the very day IKN ran its post (yok yok). Maybe he's the publicity-shy type? Anyway, more seriously it's good to note the vote of confidence Mullens is making in his stock here.

Aug 24/09 Aug 17/09 Mullens, Peter James Direct Ownership Common Shares 10 - Acquisition in the public market 3,000 $0.680
Aug 24/09 Aug 17/09 Mullens, Peter James Direct Ownership Common Shares 10 - Acquisition in the public market 58,500 $0.650
Aug 24/09 Aug 17/09 Mullens, Peter James Direct Ownership Common Shares 10 - Acquisition in the public market 4,000 $0.630
Aug 24/09 Aug 17/09 Mullens, Peter James Direct Ownership Common Shares 10 - Acquisition in the public market 18,500 $0.620
Aug 24/09 Aug 17/09 Mullens, Peter James Direct Ownership Common Shares 10 - Acquisition in the public market 43,000 $0.610