Whataresalesofpantsdoingnow?

Well,researchgroupMintelhasjustdeclaredthatitexpectssalesfor2009tofall2。

3%comparedwithanearlierforecastfor2。

6%growth。

PresumablythatsbadnewsinGreenspansbook。

Theresjustoneproblem。

Wealreadyknowtheeconomysintrouble–itsbeenobviousfor18monthsormore。

Still,hislatestcommentsexplainafewthingsaboutGreenspanstimeattheFed。

Forgetworryingaboutsoaringhouseprices,orrampantgrowthinirresponsiblelending–whocares,aslongassalesofpantsarebehavingthemselves?

SalesofY-frontsmightbegoodatconfirmingwhatwealreadyknow,butsomemoreforward-lookingindicatorsareactuallyshowingsignsoflife。

Forexample,arisingcopperpricesuggestsdemandforthebasemetal–usedineverythingfromplumbingtoelectrics–isup,whichinturnsuggeststheeconomyisimproving。

Somoreoptimisticinvestorsmighttakeheartfromthenear-30%riseinthecopperpriceoverthepastmonth。

ButIdbewaryaboutputtingmoremoneyintothemarketonthestrengthofafewgreenshoots。

ThisweekourRoundtableexpertsgivetheirviewsonwhetherthecurrentbounceisreal,orjustabear-marketrally。

IllletyoureadtheRoundtableforyourself,butsufficetosay,ifyourelookingforametaltoinvestin,Idstillbemorecomfort-ablewithgoldthancopper。

Goldhasfallenbelow$900anounce,andmaystaythereforawhile。

TalesofanewUSgold-prospectingboom,plasteredallovertheBBC,suggestnowisnotthetimeforcontrarianstobuy。

ButwhentheFinancialTimesdiscussesthepossibilityofareturntothegoldstandardwithastraightface–asGillianTettdidthisweek–itshardtobelievethatweveseenthelastofgoldsgainsforthisparticularbust。

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