In the wake of the U.S. Federal Reserve's QE3, the Bank of Japan is now expanding its asset purchase and loan program by 10 trillion yen to 80 trillion yen -- roughly $1 trillion. (Numbers enthusiasts: Japan's public debt is now 1 quadrillion yen.) Little surprise, then, that gold hit a six-and-a-half-month high earlier today of $1,779.10. Gold ETF holdings hit an all-time high of 73.7 million ounces this week; the largest ETF is the popular SPDR Gold Trust (NYSEMKT:GLD).

Gold's performance is not just about global monetary easing, I suspect. Political risk has made a forceful resurgence in the headlines in the past week, between protests in the Middle East and anti-Japan protests now spreading across China.

Global shipping and logistics giant FedEx (NYSE:FDX) announced yesterday its results for its fiscal first quarter ending in August. The company managed to beat estimates by $0.05, but it took an axe to its full-year guidance, reducing it to between $6.20 and $6.40 from a previous range of $6.90 to $7.40. This is consistent with my thesis that 2013 earnings estimates will need to come down across the board, which will be a headwind to continued gains in the S&P 500 (SNPINDEX:^GSPC) and the Dow (DJINDICES:^DJI).

Fool contributor Alex Dumortier holds no position in any company mentioned. Click here to see his holdings and a short bio; you can follow him @longrunreturns. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended buying shares of FedEx. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days.