What's the Latest Development?

The merging of stock markets between Peru, Colombia and Chile will create South America's second-largest trading market behind Brazil and promises to increase liquidity in the mineral-rich Andean region. "The market alliance of the three right-leaning nations spanning most of South America's Pacific coast gives investors better exposure to assets linked to the region's natural resources and its rising middle class. And...the stock market merger creates a political foil to the Bolivarian Alliance of regional leftist governments led by Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez."

What's the Big Idea?

While the new stock market is intended to bridge regional differences, Peru's national election could yet foil its plans. The country is in the middle of primary elections for a new president and should the left-leaning candidate Ollanta Humala win, he may move to stop the new market's inauguration. Humala has campaigned with Hugo Chávez of Venezuela and has been an outspoken critic of opening the country to foreign investment and of industry privatization. "Mining companies dominate all three bourses, accounting for 60 percent of the Lima stock exchange alone, according to analyst Hector Collantes of Apoyo."