Saturday, March 17, 2012

Why Did My Stock Just Die?

The markets dropped yesterday as the supercommittee for deficit reduction couldn't reach a compromise, meaning that $1.2 trillion in spending cuts kicks in -- in 2013! So the politicians punted responsibility till after the upcoming elections, and your stock took a nosedive, but don't panic. First, let's see whether it had good reason to fall. Sometimes, panic-fueled drops can make excellent buying opportunities. Here's the latest crop of cratered stocks that could provide a possibility for profit:
CAPS Rating (out of 5)
Monday's Change
Focus Media (Nasdaq: FMCN  )
VanceInfo Technologies (NYSE: VIT  )
Sify Technologies (Nasdaq: SIFY  )
With the Dow falling almost 250 points yesterday, or 2.1%, stocks that went down by even larger percentages are pretty big deals.
Muddying the waters
It's no fun owning a stock accused of financial shenanigans -- just ask me, I own Bio-Reference Labs (Nasdaq: BRLI  ) , which was the target of a two-part Street Sweeper expose. Now, though, Focus Media is facing what appears to be some nitty-gritty, down-in-the-numbers analysis alleging that the company has engaged in fraud.
Short-selling firm Mudd! y Waters took aim at the Chinese media outfit and declared it was "fraudulently overstating" its numbers while insiders were running the company for their own benefit. Specifically, Muddy Waters alleges Focus Media overstates the number of LCD screens in its network by 50% while overpaying for a string of acquisitions that it then wrote down on its financial statements as a means of hiding losses.
Focus Media certainly isn't the only Chinese company to face allegations of fraud. Muddy Waters itself has questioned several, including Orient Paper and Spreadtrum Communications (Nasdaq: SPRD  ) , about their financials. Earlier this month, Citron Research, another high-profile short-seller, attacked Chinese Internet company Qihoo 360 Technology (NYSE: QIHU  ) -- an attack that Qihoo didn't hesitate to fight back on.
Although 94% of those CAPS members rating Focus Media think it would outperform the broad market averages, its low two-star rating suggests they believe there are better places for your money. The most recent comments highlight the Muddy Waters report, underscoring one fund manager's view that "if I see a sell recommendation from Muddy Waters, I'm going to sell and ask questions later."
Add Focus Media to your watchlist to watch as it fights back -- if it can -- against the allegations.
Can we outsource losses?
A week after Chinese IT outsourcing specialist VanceInfo Technologies was punished by the market for rehiring the auditor who has been at the heart of some of those scandalized Chinese companies -- Deloitte was the auditor for Longtop Financial -- it posted some encouraging third-quarter results that helped boost shares by more than 40%. The market did beat back the stock somewhat, perhaps in light of the Focus Media allegations. Call it a tarnished halo effect, as I found no company-specific news to account for the drop.
Or may be it fell in sympathy with Sify Technologies, which was beaten down over the widening scope of the MF Global bankruptcy. As the amount of investor losses at the trading firm mounts to $1.2 billion, investors are worried about the relationship Sify has with MF Global in a joint venture in India.
The Indian IT specialist was flying high earlier this month after its own third-quarter results came in strong, and as its enterprise segment -- Sify's largest -- experienced 7.5% growth from the year-ago period. While its smaller commercial and consumer segment that houses its broadband access and cyber cafe business withers, which could be problematic for Internet portal (Nasdaq: REDF  ) , the main engine of growth for Sify was still intact.
Like Focus Media, both VanceInfo and Sify have strong CAPS community support (90% and 91%, respectively) that they will outperform the broad market averages. Yet, both also sport low ratings just like the outdoor advertiser, meaning whatever hopes they had for their future were tepid at best.
Tell us on the CAPS pages of both VanceInfo Technologies and Sify Technologies if you think they'll bounce back from here, and follow their progress by adding them to the Fool's free portfolio tracker.
Ready for a resurrection
Just because your stock has taken a beating, that doesn't mean it's going to roll over and die. Markets are�known for overreacting. A closer look on�Motley Fool CAPS�at what's happened to your stock can give you an edge over other investors who just react to the market's lead. With CAPS, you can decide for yourself whether your stock ready to come back from the dead.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Glencore International, Xstrata Could Make the Next Biggest Deal in Global Commodities

Commodities supplier Glencore International (PINK: GLCNF) could be on the cusp of a multibillion-dollar bet on commodities with mining company Xstrata PLC (PINK: XSRAF).

Switzerland-based Xstrata announced today (Thursday) that Glencore approached the company for an all-share offer in a "merger of equals." Glencore already owns 34% of Xstrata and wants to buy the remaining shares, worth $35 billion (21.9 billion pounds) based on Wednesday's closing price.

The result would be a global commodities giant with an $80 billion market value.

"The combined business of Glencore and Xstrata would be greater than the sum of its parts," Charles Cooper, a mining analyst at Oriel Securities, told The New York Times. "Any deal would put the new company in the same category as the major players like Rio Tinto or BHP Billiton."

The deal would be the most significant to the mining sector since BHP and Billiton joined in 2001 to form BHP Billiton Ltd. (NYSE ADR: BHP), the largest mining company by market capitalization.

Glencore International with Xstrata: A Mining Superpower

Glencore is the world's largest publicly traded commodities supplier. It went public in May 2011 in London's biggest-ever initial public offering (IPO), worth roughly $10 billion. The company said when it filed for the IPO it planned to use the cash for acquisitions.

Xstrata is a leading producer in seven commodities, according to its Web site. It's the world's fourth-largest metals and mining company, and has a market capitalization of about $50 billion.

Glencore International wants to expand its business from the low-margin metals processing it currently focuses on. The deal would give Glencore access Xstrata's profitable coal, copper, and nickel mines all over the world and create a well-rounded industry leader ! in a bul lish sector.

"Glencore being such a dominant trader and marketer of commodities, and Xstrata being such a strong operator of difficult assets, I think it creates enormous value," Prasad Patkar, who helps manage about $1 billion at Platypus Asset Management Ltd., told Bloomberg News. "On one end you have great mining expertise, on the other you've got great marketing expertise. Two and two together should make five."

A Glencore International-Xstrata entity would have more diversification than other global commodities players, with copper and coal being its biggest earnings drivers.

Under M&A rules in the United Kingdom, Glencore must announce a firm intention of an Xstrata offer by March 1. Previous Xstrata merger attempts have failed to materialize, but analysts think this one is different.

"This may be the rare case where a nil premium merger of equals in which shareholders of both companies share the synergies is possible and maybe even sensible and likely," Jefferies Group Inc. (NYSE: JEF) analyst Christopher LaFemina said in a note Thursday. "A deal like this would never be easy, but now is as good a time as any for it to happen."

The news will likely ignite more M&A activity in the metals and mining sector. Miners are loaded with cash and want to capitalize on China's industrial growth. Global mining deals hit $98 billion last year, according to Bloomberg data.

Glencore International closed with a 6.52% gain Thursday in London trading; Xstrata ended up 10.43%.

News and Related Story Links:

  • Money Morning:
    Glencore IPO – A Fairly Good Start
  • Money Morning: Special Report: How to Buy Silver
  • Money Morning:
    Gold Price Outlook 2012: Miners Will S! hine as Prices Soar
  • Bloomberg News:
    Glencore Offers to Buy Out Rest of Xstrata
  • The New York Times:
    Glencore and Xstrata in Talks for $80 Billion Deal

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Stocks To Invest In 2013 - Best Wall St. Stocks Today: CHK

By Chad Brand of Peridot Capitalist
The hardest thing for value investors oftentimes is to stand by one’s convictions, even when Wall Street doesn’t seem to take notice of what you see. Shares of natural gas producer Stocks To Invest In 2013 - Chesapeake Energy (CHK) have been doing nothing for more than a year. Many investors have likely grown tired from Wall Street’s yawns and have moved on to more hip names. However, CHK’s fourth quarter earnings report issued yesterday afternoon once again shows that the company is clicking on all cylinders.

Chesapeake reported earnings of $0.90, 13 cents above estimates of $0.77 per share. Revenue came in at $1.87 billion, versus the consensus view of $1.52 billion. Spectacular quarters are nothing new for CHK, as they have reported stellar results for many quarters in a row now. However, the stock has merely been tracking the commodity price of natural gas, ignoring the fact that shares trade at 8 times trailing earnings and 5 times trailing EBITDA.
The weakness in Chesapeake shares, relative to its operating results, is likely due to two things. First, CHK has issued a lot of convertible debt to fund increased natural gas production, and continues to do so. In order to hedge their positions, buyers of the convertible debt simultaneously short the common stock in order to lock in the income generated from the convertible securities. The good news is that the land grab that CHK has embarked on is largely over so they are doing fewer acquisitions. In fact, CHK’s long term debt actually fell in Q4 for the first time in a long, long time.

Investors also worry about falling natural gas prices when analyzing Chesapeake shares. This explains why CHK has been following spot gas prices for months now. This logic, though, ignores CHK’s massive hedging activities (they sport the most aggressive hedging program in the ! industry ). The company has hedged 50% of their gas production above the current market price for both 2007 and 2008. As a result, commodity price risk should not be a large concern for CHK investors.
As value investors know, it often takes a long time for Wall Street to realize that they have mispriced equities. Over the long term, CHK stock has reflected the value of its underlying business, even when short term movements do not. This time should be no different. And if the company’s management team grows tired of waiting for their value to be realized, they surely would have numerous options if they were to sell their company outright to get out of the fickle public marketplace.
Full Disclosure: Long CHK common stock, as well as the preferred "D" shares

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

2013 Best Stocks - Iron Mountain Beats Analyst Estimates on EPS

2013 Best Stocks - Iron Mountain (NYSE: IRM  ) reported earnings on Feb. 23. Here are the numbers you need to know.
The 10-second takeaway
For the quarter ended Dec. 31 (Q4), Iron Mountain met expectations on revenues and beat expectations on earnings per share.
Compared to the prior-year quarter, revenue dropped and GAAP earnings per share grew significantly.
Gross margins contracted, operating margins grew, net margins grew.
Revenue details
Iron Mountain logged revenue of $741.8 million. The nine analysts polled by S&P Capital IQ expected to see revenue of $747.0 million on the same basis. GAAP reported sales were 5.9% lower than the prior-year quarter's $788.7 million.
Source: S&P Capital IQ. Quarterly periods. Dollar amounts in millions. Non-GAAP figures may vary to maintain comparability with estimates.
EPS details
Non-GAAP EPS came in at $0.33. The 11 earnings estimates compiled by S&P Capital IQ forecast $0.29 per share on the same basis. GAAP EPS of $0.19 for Q4 were 19% higher than the prior-year quarter's $0.16 per share.
Source: S&P Capital IQ. Quarterly periods. Non-GAAP figures may vary to maintain comparability with estimates.
Margin details
For the quarter, gross margin was 57.5%, 330 basis points worse than the prior-year quarter. Operating margin was 20.7%, 130 basis points better than the prior-year quarter. Net margin was 4.3%, 10 basis points better than the prior-year quarter.
Looking ahead
Next quarter's average estimate for revenue is $763.5 million. On the bottom line, the average EPS ! estimate is $0.29.
Next year's average estimate for revenue is $3.05 billion. The average EPS estimate is $1.32.
Investor sentiment
The stock has a three-star rating (out of five) at Motley Fool CAPS, with 272 members out of 296 rating the stock outperform, and 24 members rating it underperform. Among 113 CAPS All-Star picks (recommendations by the highest-ranked CAPS members), 106 give Iron Mountain a green thumbs-up, and seven give it a red thumbs-down.
Of Wall Street recommendations tracked by S&P Capital IQ, the average opinion on Iron Mountain is hold, with an average price target of $33.89.
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  • Add Iron Mountain to My Watchlist.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Good Chinese Stocks In 2014

Encouraging data earlier this month led to a bullish beginning for the markets in September. Thus far, the S&P 500 Index is up 8.8% — propelled higher on good global economic news. At the top of the stock market news is strong data from China’s manufacturing sector.
According to two recent surveys, Chinese manufacturing activity rose in August for the first time in four months. The two surveys showed production, new orders and purchasing prices all climbed higher in the month. Given the strength in the Chinese economy, I continue to expect China stocks to outperform in the coming rally with another 25% to 40% upside by year-end.
Overall, despite the inevitable volatility in the markets along the way, the unprecedented growth drivers in China will continue directing investors to where the real opportunity resides.
Here are my top five China stocks to buy as we enter October.

Good Chinese Stocks In 2014:Guangshen Railway Company Limited (GSH)

 Guangshen Railway Company Limited, together with its subsidiaries, primarily provides passenger and freight transportation services on the Shenzhen-Guangzhou-Pingshi railway in the People's Republic of China. The company?s freight services include the transportation of full load and single load cargo, containers, bulky and overweight cargo, dangerous cargo, fresh and live cargo, and oversized cargo. It also offers long distance passenger transportation services. In addition, the company engages in the sale of food, beverages, and merchandise on board the trains and in railway stations. Further, it engages in the operation of a travel agency, as well as provision of services relating to warehousing, hotel management, cargo loading and unloading, catering management and services, advertising, and freight transportation and package agency services. Additionally, the company provides property management services, as well as involves in the supervision of construction projects. As of December 31, 2009, it operated 218 pairs of passenger trains, including 100 pairs of inter-city high-speed passenger trains between Guangzhou and Shenzhen; 13 pairs of Hong Kong Through Trains; and 105 pairs of long-distance passenger trains. The company was founded in 1996 and is based in Shenzhen, the People's Republic of China.

Good Chinese Stocks In 2014:China XD Plastics Company Limited (CXDC)

 China XD Plastics Company Limited, through its subsidiary, Harbin Xinda Macromolecule Material Co., Ltd., engages in the development, manufacture, and distribution modified plastics primarily for use in the production of automobile parts and components in the People?s Republic of China. It specializes in producing automotive modified plastics that are used to produce various types of auto parts, including exteriors consisting of automobile bumpers, rearview and sideview mirrors, and license plate parts; interiors, such as door panels, dashboards, steering wheels, and glove compartment and safety belt components; and functional components comprising air conditioner casings, heating and ventilation casings, engine covers, and air ducts. The company also provides specially engineered plastics for use in oilfield equipment, mining equipment, vessel propulsion systems, and power station equipment. Its automotive-specific modified plastics are used in approximately 60 automobile brands in China. The company was founded in 2004 and is based in Harbin, the People?s Republic of China.

Good Chinese Stocks In 2014:China Life Insurance Company Limited (LFC)

 China Life Insurance Company Limited provides life, annuities, accident, and health insurance products in China. Its individual life insurance and annuity products consist of whole life and term life insurance, endowment insurance, and annuities. The company also engages in the writing of life insurance business. In addition, it offers group life insurance products, including group annuity products, and group whole life and term life insurance products to enterprises and institutions, as well as universal life products. Further, the company provides short-term insurance products comprising short-term accident insurance and short-term health insurance products; accident insurance products, such as individual accident insurance and group accident insurance; and health insurance products, including defined health benefit plans, medical expense reimbursement plans, and disease specific plans. It distributes its products through its direct sales representatives and exclusive agents, as well as through intermediaries comprising insurance agencies and insurance brokerage companies, non-dedicated agencies, bancassurance arrangements, travel agencies, and hotels and airline sales counters. The company was founded in 1949 and is based in Beijing, China. China Life Insurance Company Limited is a subsidiary of China Life Insurance (Group) Company.
Advisors' Opinion:
  • By Tom Bishop At 2011-9-13
    China Life Insurance is the largest insurance provider in China, a country where insurance coverage among the citizens of China is relatively new. Indeed the concept of having life and health insurance is not as mainstream in China as in the US. And with the largest population in the world, China is a great growth market for insurance. LFC has over $11 billion in cash and has diversified their investments across other industries including construction, banking and power generation. I like this stock here despite high valuations.

Good Chinese Stocks In 2014:Renesola Ltd. (SOL)

 ReneSola Ltd, together with its subsidiaries, engages in the manufacture and sale of solar wafers and solar power products. It offers virgin polysilicons, monocrystalline and multicrystalline solar wafers, and photovoltaic cells and modules. The company also provides cell and module processing services. Its products are used in a range of residential, commercial, industrial, and other solar power generation systems. The company sells its solar wafers primarily to solar cell and module manufacturers. It principally operates in Mainland China, Singapore, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Korea, India, Australia, Germany, Italy, Spain, Belgium, France, the Czech Republic, and the United States. The company was founded in 2003 and is based in Jiashan, the People?s Republic of China.
Advisors' Opinion:
  • By Martin At 2012-2-22
    Renesola Ltd.(NYSE: SOL) closing price in the stock market Tuesday, Jan. 3, was $1.61. SOL is trading -6.98% below its 50 day moving average and -45.69% below its 200 day moving average. SOL is -87.85% below its 52-week high of $13.25 and 11.03% above its 52-week low of $1.45. SOL‘s PE ratio is 1.56 and its market cap is $139.77M.

    Renesola Ltd. engages in the manufacture and sale of solar wafers and solar power products together with its subsidiaries. SOL offers virgin polysilicons, monocrystalline and multicrystalline solar wafers, and photovoltaic cells and modules.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Stocks To Invest In 2013 - Fulsome Volume of MF Global Holdings Ltd. - NYSE:MF

Stocks To Invest In 2013 - MF Global Holdings Ltd (NYSE:MF) witnessed volume of 10.96 million shares during last trade however it holds an average trading capacity of 2.08 million shares. MF last trade opened at $7.28 reached intraday low of $7.28 and went +3.18% up to close at $7.47.
MF has a market capitalization $1.22 billion and an enterprise value at $-5.66 billion. Trailing twelve months price to sales ratio of the stock was 0.61 while price to book ratio in most recent quarter was 0.90. In profitability ratios, net profit margin in past twelve months appeared at -4.06% whereas operating profit margin for the same period at 1.23%.
The company made a return on asset of -0.17% in past twelve months and return on equity of -5.49% for similar period. In the period of trailing 12 months it generated revenue amounted to $2.00 billion gaining $12.96 revenue per share. Its year over year, quarterly growth of revenue was 21.40%.
According to preceding quarter balance sheet results, the company had $25.88 billion cash in hand making cash per share at 157.94. The total of $18.99 billion debt was there putting. Moreover its current ratio according to same quarter results was 0.79 and book value per share was 8.28.
Looking at the trading information, the stock price history displayed that its S&P500 52 Week Change illustrated 18.08% where the stock current price exhibited down beat from its 50 day moving average price of $7.50 and remained below from its 200 Day Moving Average price of $8.04.
Stocks To Invest In 2013 - MF holds 163.84 million outstanding shares with 153.18 million floating shares where insider possessed 5.81% and institutions kept 100.50%.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Apple: Foxconn Has Issues, Per Survey, Says Bloomberg

Bloomberg‘s Peter Burrows this evening reports that the Fair Labor Association, the watchdog group that carried out at Apple’s (AAPL) request an inspection of the facilities of Apple’s manufacturing partners, has found “tons of issues” at the site of Foxconn Technology Group, citing the head of the FLA, Auret van Heerden.
Burrows writes van Heerden tells him by phone he believes there will be “some very significant announcements in the near future” regarding the inspections, without elaborating. Details are expected “in coming weeks,” writes Burrows.
Apple announced Monday the FLA would begin inspecting Foxconn facilities to assess worker conditions.
Foxconn serves numerous computer companies including Dell (DELL).
Burrows notes van Heerden had positive things to say about the responsiveness of Apple and Foxconn to past issues brought to the companies’ attention.
Apple shares are up 63 cents at $502.75 in late trading.

Bank-Stock Comeback: Three Trading At-or-Below Book Value With Earnings Momentum

Take it to the bank. Maybe it�s no longer a joke for investors. Using comparable ETFs as proxies, financial stocks jumped to a better start to 2012 than the broad S&P 500 index and even the popular S&P 600 index of small-company stocks:
Financial Select Sector SPDR Stock Chart
Financial Select Sector SPDR Stock Chart by YCharts
Switching the percentage change comparison to a 5-year view from a year-to-date view shows how much ground financials have to make up since the financial crisis erupted:
Financial Select Sector SPDR Stock Chart
Financial Select Sector SPDR Stock Chart by YCharts
Bank stocks such as Bank of America (BAC) have hir hard times. Bank of America�s market cap, for instance, is less than the value of the cash on its balance sheets.
Bank of America Corporation Cash and ST Investments Chart
Bank of America Corporation Cash and ST Investments Chart by YCharts
But the Financial Times reported that financial stocks are trading above the book value (assets, including cash, minus liabilities) of the companies for the first time since July. These metrics suggest that bank stocks have moved beyond last summer�s onset of a European financial calamity and even the prospect of stiffer legal and regulatory attacks on the U.S. banking industry stemming from abusive mortgage lending.
Banks stocks trading for less than tangible book value or the value of cash on their balance sheet look like bargains, assuming that the negative factors that reduced the price/book value ratio are at least not getting worse. Such hopes underlie the rally, even as the! Europea n financial crisis simmers, the U.S. economic recovery remains tentative and U.S. prosecutors and regulators say they are far from the end of punishing the industry for its sins.
For now, among the top four banks — JPMorgan Chase (JPM), Bank of America, Citigroup (C) and Wells Fargo (WFC) — only Wells Fargo is trading above book value.
Bank of America Corporation Price / Book Value Chart
Bank of America Corporation Price / Book Value Chart by YCharts
But the current resurgence of optimism about bank stocks, amid modest good news about the U.S. economy, makes it worthwhile to look for bargains rather than run away in terror from the sector. The screening process involves finding banks still priced below book value that have reasonable stories of earnings growth and dividend stability. Here�s a sample, focusing on regional banks:
Pittsburgh, Pa.-based PNC Financial Services Group (PNC), one of the large banking firms that weathered the last five years relatively well, trades at just under a 1.00 price/book ratio. The reasonable 2.3% dividend yield reflects an incre

The Ideal Family Vacation With A Cheap Accommodation Gold Coast

The Gold Coast is among the most loved holiday destinations throughout Australia. Located in tropical Queensland, it has great weather throughout the year and a host of activities that the whole family will enjoy. You can easily find great deals and a cheap Gold Coast hotel.
Undoubtedly the jewel in the Gold Coast’s crown is its dazzlingly beautiful beaches. There are literally miles of beautiful unspoiled beaches with clean, white sand and bright blue waters. The best known beaches on the Gold Coast are: Surfers Paradise, Mermaid Beach, Currumbin, Broadbeach, Kirra, Collangatta and Greenmount, but there are plenty of others where you can chill out away from crowds of people.
One of the great things about Gold Coast beaches is that since there are so many of them, even in peak holiday season you can still find uncrowded beaches to enjoy. If you or anyone in the family wants to learn to surf, there are many different surf schools that can teach you how to get up on a board.
There are many different theme parks and attractions that you can enjoy with the family on the Gold Coast. Dreamworld, Sea World and Warner Bros Movie World are the biggest and you can easily spend the whole day there.
Your family can have a great day out at Dream World where there are many different rides and rollercoasters for different age groups and levels of courage. At Sea World you can come face to face with some gorgeous marine creatures as well as see shows and enjoy rides. There is also a big water park with slides and pools at Sea World. Warner Bros Movie World is a piece of Hollywood in the center of the Gold Coast, where you can see movie characters come to life from Batman to Harry Potter and a host of Looney Tunes cartoon characters too.
Other opportunities to see some of the local fauna include Currumbin Bird Sanctuary and dolphin feeding at Tangalooma. Currumbin Bird Sanctuary has more than 1400 mammals, birds and reptiles waiting for your visit. Tangalooma Island is a short trip ! from the Gold Coast shores and an incredible chance to see and interact with wild bottlenose dolphins. The island also has beautiful and pristine national parks to walk through and get a sense of tropical Australia.
On the Gold Coast you will be spoiled for choice when it comes to shopping. There is a huge range available at the malls and you can buy just about anything you might be looking for. The biggest malls are Pacific Fair, Australia Fair, Robina Town Center, The Oasis, Marina Mirage and Westfield Shopping Center Helensdale. For outlet shopping head to Harbour Town at Biggera Waters to pick up drastically discounted brand names.
You and your family are guaranteed an enjoyable and memorable vacation at a cheap hotel Gold Coast. The combination of budget hotel accommodation and activities for everyone to enjoy is a major reason that many families return to the Gold Coast each year for their vacations. Don’t miss out and you could be sitting back and relaxing on some of Australia’s best beaches before you know it.
If you want to enjoy a peaceful and relaxing vacation in a cheap hotel Gold Coast style, then you should not wait to make a booking and also check out Movie World Gold Coast. You are sure to have the vacation of a lifetime.