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Strange Business: Have Pundits Become Too Pessimistic About Gold?

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Plus, for the first time ever, texting has been cited as the reason for a flight crash.

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Roubini Slams Gold Bugs

The recent decline in gold (NYSEARCA:GLD) prices and the much larger decline in gold stocks -- particularly gold mining stocks (NYSEARCA:GDX) -- has many people thinking that the decade-long bull market in the yellow metal has ended. Economist
Nouriel Roubini (seen at right) can be included in this group. In fact, he displayed his glee about the drop in prices last night on Twitter. In a back-and-forth with economist and investment banker James Rickards about gold, Roubini said, "Gold-bug suckers found another irrational useless bubble fad, the Bitcoin, the bubble flavor of the day," referring to the recent run-up in Bitcoin following the Cyprus bailout.

Maybe all this chatter can be read as a contrarian indicator?

(Also see: Extreme Indicator Alert: A Multi-Month Gold Stock Rally Appears Likely.)

Don't Fly and Text

The US National Transportation Safety Board, or the NTSB, will meet today to assign a reason for the crash of an Air Methods Corporation (NASDAQ:AIRM) emergency medical helicopter over Missouri in 2011. The NTSB has documentation that the pilot sent and received seven texts before the fatal crash that killed all four onboard, including a patient. This crash marked the first time that texting on a mobile phone contributed to a fatal crash during a flight.

Hoarding Virtual Currency

It may be hard to conceptualize, but people are hoarding Bitcoins, the virtual currency that has increased over 1,300% since the beginning of the year, closing over US $220 today . How can you determine if people are hoarding a virtual currency? Although the velocity of money metric cannot be applied to Bitcoin, and the anonymous nature of Bitcoin transactions makes it unknowable why transfers occurred between accounts, the Bitcoin community has established its own metric to track the currency's flow. The "Bitcoin days destroyed" metric is calculated by multiplying the number of Bitcoins transferred by the number of days they had been held before the transfer. The metric's 7-day moving average has hit all-time highs within the past few days and weeks, indicating people are holding onto their Bitcoins for longer periods. Plus, it also shows that some have cashed out as the price continues to rise.

(Also see: The Basics on Bitcoin: 11 Things to Know About This Suddenly 'Hot' Digital Currency.)

The $9 Million Bowl

The auction house Sotheby's (NYSE:BID) saved the best for last at its five-day spring sales auction in wine, jewelry, Asian and Chinese art, ceramics, and watches. The Ruby-Ground Double-Lotus "falangcai" bowl from the Kangxi period (1662 to 1722) sold for 74 million Hong Kong dollars, or US $9 million, yesterday. The mainland Chinese collector, who went by the name Ren, bid the price to more than 140 times the price it went for in 1983.

The Next Silicon Valley?

Not many people expect that New Orleans will ever return to its former status as a cultural hub within the United States, but the city shows signs that it could become the birthplace of the next Silicon Valley, says Derek Thompson of The Atlantic. In 2008, the number of start-up businesses doubled from 2005, and the number of individuals starting businesses per 100,000 adults stood above 400 in 2010. The national average was below 350. Start-up businesses in the city benefit from cheaper costs. However, the city still faces obstacles in producing the next Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) or Google (NASDAQ:GOOG). iSeatz.com, a service that helps people plan multiple travel arrangements, has been the only major success story from the city. Plus, the number of young adults holding a bachelor's degree living in New Orleans has increased from 23% to 26%, a slower growth rate than the average US city. New Orleans will need a few more successful companies like iSeatz.com to make it more attractive to young talent.

Twitter: @ChrisWitrak
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