Global demand for gold hit a new record value level in 2012 and central banks around the world were gobbling up the precious metal at rates not seen in nearly 50 years, according to findings released by the World Gold Council this month. The industry council said that in value terms, gold demand in 2012 was over $235 billion — an all-time high — and fourth-quarter figures of more than $66 billion marked the highest Q4 total ever.

The consequences of governmental intrusion into the private market are inevitable, painful, and costly, as students such as Nick Keith found out much too late.

Foreign governments continue to increase their purchases of U.S. government debt despite concerns over the fiscal cliff and the government's continued profligate spending.

Calling it “unexpected,” Reuters reported that the Purchasing Managers Index (PMI) from the Institute for Supply Management for November fell to its lowest level in over three years. A poll of economists by Reuters showed they didn't see it coming.

The United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) union has threatened 1,000 protests against Walmart on Black Friday, while the giant retailer has filed a complaint against such actions by the union with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB).