This story on price manipulation by trader Daniel James Plunkett once again brings two big investment themes into focus, gold and banks.
Since the financial crisis broke, gold has been touted by many as a panacea.
Acolytes of the yellow metal tell us it will store value in a deflationary world, hedge against inflation when prices are rising and act as a safe haven when governments are printing money.
Unlike fiat currency (not backed by a physical commodity) the gold price cannot be manipulated, or so we thought.
UK banking has underperformed the FTSE 350 Index by around 15.5% over the past year.
The FTSE 350 has all but flat-lined over that period, meaning the value of bank shares has fallen by more than 15%.
Such value destruction may be attributed to many factors, including on-going balance sheet provisions being made for payment protection insurance redress, compensation for interest rate swaps and fines for Libor rigging.
In addition, regulatory creep has meant that more and more money needs to be spent on compliance and oversight functions.
At the operational level, banks are struggling with the competing mandates of having to shrink their balance sheets and increase lending to small and mid-sized businesses.
A lot of remedial work has been done on balance sheet structures – as evidenced by stress tests conducted by UK, US and European authorities – and dividend payments are also coming back, albeit at a greatly reduced level.
The banks’ shares are looking relatively inexpensive from a price to earnings perspective but, as ever in this sector, market timing will be the key to striking gold.
David Barclay is a divisional director at wealth manager and financial-planning specialist Brewin Dolphin in Aberdeen