This must surely collapse! An extract from the diaries of Evil Knievil

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The man the Daily Mail dubbed “The King of the Short Sellers”, Evil Knievil (aka Simon Cawkwell) is Britain’s most feared bear-raider. A big man with a bigger reputation, Evil Knievil famously made £1 million by short selling shares in Northern Rock during its collapse. He also uses his knowledge and experience to buy shares, often resulting in the same devastating effect.

Three times a week Evil provides his thoughts and musings on the markets only at theevildiaries.com. Read an extract from Evil’s latest diaries below and click the banner at the bottom of the page for a free trial to the website…

I can’t work out why Argentina is messing around over paying off its government debt. The amount involved is of the order of $1 billion or nothing much in the general scheme of things. Where this leaves the general rating for Argentinian investments is less certain. However, I am assured that there is good news to come on Andes Energy (AEN).

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The bid from Destination Maternity for Mothercare (MTC) has now been formally withdrawn by Destination M. Purists would remark that it cannot be withdrawn since it was never made. Anyway, the stock must surely now collapse since, however unchivalrously, I dismiss chairman Alan Parker’s claim that a higher bid is what is required.

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It is true that many private investors regard an exercise of options over a company’s share capital by management as bullish. In fact, there is no sensible reason to exercise an option unless a sale is intended or an appearance on the register so to vote is required.

Three days ago, Concha (CHA) announced that some 36.5m options/warrants have been exercised, the bulk at 1.2p, where the latest date for such exercise is April 2016. This can only be because the beneficial holder seeks to sell Concha ordinaries in the not too distant future. This is hardly surprising given that the shares must be worth less than 1p. They currently stand at 1.85p.

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A friend, instructed by a leading professional gambler, has been placing bets at Ladbrokes. These bets tend to win. The result is that Ladbrokes, instead of merely closing my pal’s account, decline to pay out until tedious requirements to prove identity have been met. Were Cyril Stein alive I think he’d be angry at such heavy handed incompetence.

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Finally, some readers may recall that I won £36,000 on Athletic in the last at Newmarket eight days ago. It ran again late last week but over a mile rather than the previous distance of seven furlongs. I put £20,000 on it at 5/2 and, for my pains, got chinned on the line: the extra furlong makes a difference.

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