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WSJ to Gold: Drop Dead!
(June 6, 2002) This morning’s Wall Street Journal trumpeted “Was That the End of the Gold-Price Rally?” after yesterday’s 2% correction in gold’s price. “Gold Investors Start to Worry” was the sub-headline. The opening sentence reads: “Gold bars don’t tarnish, but some investors worry that the recent gold rally might soon.” One question for the WSJ: Where did they find all these supposedly worried gold investors?
First of all, let us briefly praise the venerable Wall Street Journal, the daily business publication of Dow Jones & Company, Inc. For over sixty years, there has been no better daily coverage of the U.S. equities market than the WSJ.

Not only that, but today the Wall Street Journal publishes one of the very few subscription-only websites that is drawing any significant revenue – i.e., people are actually willing to pay real money to read their online content. Many, many other websites have attempted this subscription revenue model, only to find that there are darn few folks willing to pay for anything on the Internet, where billions of pages of content (such as this one) can be accessed for free.

And earlier this year, the print edition of the Wall Street Journal underwent a total makeover, with new sections, departments, columns, and for the first time, full-color graphics. They even went so far as to eliminate that tacky Whitewater-Paula Jones-Troopergate videotape offering that had occupied the middle of the old editorial page since sometime late in the last century.

As a matter of fact, there seem to be a lot fewer ads of all types cluttering up the WSJ these days. For instance, whatever happened to all those big ads for stockbrokers and investment bankers trumpeting their latest deal or new office opening?

Those ads disappeared, of course, with the rest of the thrills of the U.S. stock market. With the current equities malaise brought on by Enronitis and its attendant ills, there are fewer deals, fewer new office openings, and a whole lot less for the investment banking/stock-pushing firms to crow about.

And certainly the Wall Street Journal can’t be blamed for having a slanted view of gold, and belittling it whenever possible. After all, the WSJ’s readers, writers, and advertisers are more concerned with the abstract faith-based investments of the stock and bond markets rather than something as concrete as gold.

At any rate, since gold went back up a few bucks today, all the panic and weeping were apparently for naught. I am sure that wise men at the WSJ, if asked, would attribute today’s gold price rise to the Israelis throwing a couple more tank rounds into Arafat’s compound, or the world wide rush to buy Euros (flight to quality!), or Oracle reportedly meeting its earning projections, or even the uncertainty generated by the jury deliberations in the Arthur Andersen case.

But it may just be that we have seen over the past year or so a fundamental loss of faith in the moving dot on the video screen. Perhaps all reported corporate “earnings” numbers are just wishful thinking, and the stock market is fundamentally no more than perception, iconography and mythology.

Which means that there is no real difference between a Merrill Lynch stock “analyst” and a fourteen year old playing pump'n'dump in an Internet chatroom.

And gold, timeless, inert, heavy, brilliant, and yellow, good old-fashion money, the element that is wealth itself, is up over 20% in a year’s time versus the dollar, and much more than that versus most of Wall Street’s favorite mutual funds.

But today, the house organ of the equities racket tells us that gold owners are worried.

About what?


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