It's hard not to be cynical about what the markets are supposedly telling us this week.
Don't get me wrong, I think markets can be a good barometer for sentiment and a leading indicator for trends before they bubble to the surface.
But their behavior this week suggests that the few traders and investors working during these dog days of summer are more interested in pushing prices around for short-term gain than making a bet on where the economy and financial markets are heading.
It's nothing new that trading desks are thinly staffed in the last weeks of summer, but after last year's rude interruption of summer holidays, more are taking advantage of the relative calm this year to soak their feet in the ocean rather than man the phones.
That's caused some interesting cross-currents that are making the message a bit of a muddle. Today, for example, oil prices rose early on hopes of an economic recovery while gold, a haven for those seeking a safe harbor, marched toward $1,000 per ounce as investors grew more cautious.