THEY'RE off in the world's oldest, and probably only, shares race where the racers include an astrologer and a dartboard.
All start with a notional $100,000, split equally between 10 stocks of their choice, which they must hold for four weeks, at which point the winner is declared. Any dividends paid are included, and adjustments are made for complications such as rights issues. Every winner from 2012 is in this round except the dartboard, which is indisposed.
An account manager at Australian National Couriers, Mark Rice, has darted to the front, although he didn't have the best stock and is clinging on by just $99.
The winning stock was picked by Doreen Daze, the astrologer, who won twice in 2012 along with, ahem, yours truly.
Namoi Cotton surged almost 12 per cent in a week after signing a joint-venture deal with Dutch-owned rival Louis Dreyfus Commodities. This injected $34 million into the debt-laden growers' co-operative. It will still buy the cotton but the joint venture will pack and sell it globally. Oh, it's also one of the few stocks to benefit from the Queensland floods.
The only potential setback for Doreen is that growers have to approve the deal by a 75 per cent majority in the last week of the race.
The week's worst stock was Healthlinx, which halved in value, even though it wasn't worth much to begin with, and almost had our equities dealer, Cameron Haynes, scratched. It's one of the cheapest stocks on the ASX, each share being worth only one-hundredth of a cent.
Be mindful, though, that a racer can be last in week one and win week four.
I know. I've done it.