Howard Simons at asks the question: What does the rally in gold mean?

In an answer surely unsatisfying to the gold bugs, it means the supply-demand balance for gold mandates a higher price. That’s it. End of story, go home folks, there’s nothing to look at. It does not mean impending war, pestilence, famine, hyperinflation, currency panics or mandatory lifetime attendance at Ashlee Simpson concerts.

In the unkindest cut of all, gold’s admirable performance in 2005 pales in comparison to those put in for base metals such as lead and zinc. If we go back to August 2003, the time when the yield curve peaked and began its long march toward inversion, gold has underperformed this pedestrian pair by a wide and growing margin.

This echoes an earlier post that notes that gold, like all other potential investments, comply with the law of supply and demand.

Latin American stocks have been on fire this year. William Samuel Rocco at points out five reasons why most investors should steer clear of Latin American sector funds. The bottom line is that for Rocco is that investors can get this exposure as a part of more diversified investment vehicles.

Gregg Greenberg at highlights the differences in two exchange-traded funds that are designed to provide exposure to the Chinese market. However different stock selection criteria and weighting schemes produce very different portfolios. As always it pays to look below the surface at the underlying portfolio before investing in any investment vehicle.

Chet Currier at notes that the S&P 500 has been as easy target for the majority of equity mutual fund managers to best this year.

Geoffrey Colvin at Fortune checks in with Prof. Robert Shiller of “Irrational Exuberance” fame and finds him still skeptical of equity market valuations.

Barry Ritholz of the Big Picture has an interesting graph that plots “How Bullish Are Wall Street Strategists.” It is always interesting to note where the crowd is, and how some outliers compare to the masses.

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