It's Friday, and my week off is coming to a close. It's good to have some time off from the emergency department. The few days I spent in the Gold Coast were fun - the Giant Drop in Dreamworld is a particularly scary ride ... picture yourself strapped in and lifted to 120m above ground level, freefalling to nearly ground level before they stop you. I was all tingly, especially in my fingers for a while after that.

On the financial side of things, gold lease rates have jumped up again. Together with gold stocks in the U.S. jumping up at the same time, it smells a lot like September 1999 for the gold market just before the Washington Agreement, except that one year lease rates are not as high now ... yet.

Another poor showing from NASDAQ stocks today. The problem with the NASDAQ is that, on the NASDAQ composite index, there is technically no support below 2000 until ... oh ... about 1500 ... or 1000. All the stock bulls are still out in force, notably Abby Cohen who has just recommended a move to 0% cash - this is NOT a sign of a market bottom. There is more pain to follow.

In significant finance news today, the Japanese finance minister, having said a week ago that the Japanese economy was "in critical recession", today said that the "the nation's finances are now abnormal, in a state relatively close to collapse". This from the second largest economy in the world. Brrr.... not good. Does anyone else feel a cold chill blowing through the room?

In other news, Intel slashes 5,000 jobs and gave another profit warning. The bad news just keeps on coming. Not a good time to be bullish on technology - the bargains you think you're getting today ... they'll be cheaper soon.

Personally, I bought a few more Cable & Wireless Optus put options today here on the Australian Stock Exchange with some funny money - hoping for the takeover deal from Singapore Telecom to fall through. Already got a bunch of call options for some local gold mining companies.