Gold hits record high? Hardly

You've got to hand it to the gold bugs. The often goofy, sometimes kooky, doom-and-gloom, build-a-bunker-in-Montana crowd is laughing all the way to Fort Knox.

The precious metal hit another so-called record high Wednesday of nearly $1,050 an ounce. It's usually folly to buy any asset when it's at its most expensive (recall that the idea is to "buy low"), but gold is one of the few investments out there where you can make a compelling case on a fundamental basis.

Unlike stocks, which are trading more on technicals or momentum or just wishful thinking, gold has a great global macroeconomic tailwind at its back. The practically useless metal (for goodness sake, zinc has more industrial utility) is a macro indicator, says Nicholas Brooks, head of research and investment strategy at ETF Securities, and the macro picture is pushing big pools of institutional money into gold.