Firstly, many apologies for the long absence. I've been working hard on trying to complete extensive home renovations which, coupled with the recent arrival of our baby daughter, has left little time to work on the site (or sleep!). Probably a few more weeks before the dust and daughter settle, but I'll try and keep the site updated and clear the backlog of questions the best I can meanwhile. If you're waiting for your question to be answered, sorry it's taking a while but I will get to it at some point.
Markets have enjoyed a good couple of weeks, seemingly fuelled by growing confidence that Governments will step in to prop up ailing banks and Eurozone economies. This seems a bit perverse to me, as borrowing (or printing) more money to try and stave off going bust seems rather futile - and to date hasn't really solved the fundamental problems, just bought more time. However, I suppose markets don't tend to look too far ahead these days, preferring to overreact to short term news, good or bad. And markets like Governments stumping up cash because some will filter into the markets via investors/spending and solvent banks are worth more than bankrupt banks, even if they are propped up with state cash.
Buoyant stock markets have meant gold dipping back about 8% from its $1,800 high, but underlying demand from investors still looks pretty resilient. Oil has drifted up and down, but ended the week about 6% up.
Where do we go from here? My guess is that the optimism will decline once again at some point over the next month or two and stock markets will fall back to recent levels. The roller coaster ride will likely continue until we hit rock bottom at some point (Eurozone defaults and recessions) before prospects slowly improve to the point we can look forward to some sustained growth. As for timescales I'm struggling to make a sensible guess, but my daughter will probably be walking and talking before the global economic tide starts to turn for the better...