GOLD TAKES A BREATHER; STOCK FUTURES UP ON STIMULUS

Gold opened fractionally lower this morning, as the markets appear to be taking a pause after Thursday’s announcement of a stimulus program.  The program launched Thursday by the Federal Reserve is a combination of maintaining near-zero interest rates and an open-ended mortgage debt buying program.  News of this new program sent Gold up Thursday, closing up nearly 2 percent for the day and 10 percent for the month. “After the move we had, not just yesterday, but over the last two or three weeks I think it would be natural to look for a period of consolidation,” said Tom Kendall, an analyst at Credit Suisse in London. “But certainly going into the back end of this year, I would be looking for gold to be getting towards at least the $1,850 level.”

The news of the new round of stimulus has also had a positive effect on the U.S. stock markets.  After hitting new highs on Thursday, the U.S. stock-index futures for Friday are already up over 40 points. “While we will hear a lot of criticism on the FOMC’s aggressive moves, we shouldn’t forget that for markets, it usually doesn’t pay to fight the Fed,” wrote strategists at KBC Bank in Brussels.  Thursday’s rally pushed the S&P 500 index past the 1440 to 1445 range where it had been encountering significant resistance.

At 9:00 p.m. (EDT) – the APMEX precious metals spot prices were:

  • Gold – $1,771.70 – Up $0.80.
  • Silver – $34.57 – Down $0.22.
  • Platinum – $1,699.10 – Up $18.60.
  • Palladium – $702.00 –Up $13.10.

QE3 decision coming at 12:30 P.M. EDT

 

Gold and Silver prices are mostly flat this morning as investors await a Federal Reserve monetary policy decision.  Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke is scheduled for a press conference at 2:15 p.m. (EDT), though the policy decision should be out closer to 12:30 p.m. (EDT).  David Morrison of GFT Markets believes that the markets have “priced in significant action from the (Fed).  The expectation is for a further round of large-scale asset purchases similar to 2010’s $600 billion QE2 program.” He continued, “The language accompanying another round of quantitative easing will be all-important” because if the Fed decides to wait, the markets could be in for disappointment.

Prices remained stable after the weekly jobless claims report was released.  Claims rose by 15,000 last week, about 12,000 more than expected.  Guy Berger of RBS Securities, Inc. said, “The labor market continues to be disappointing.  We’d like to see the hiring side pick up.  Companies are very cautious given all the uncertainty.”

One of the countries hit hardest by the eurozone debt crisis is Spain, which boasts the third-largest economy in the eurozone.  Spain’s prime minister Mariano Rajoy suggested to parliament yesterday that Spain may not need to ask for a bailout due to the success of the European Central Bank’s bond-buying program.  Many experts believe a bailout will be necessary eventually, however, and the delay in asking for one could prove to make things worse by way of conditions for receiving bailout funds.  Goldman Sachs analysts wrote, “The more the Spanish administration indulges domestic political interests and is perceived to be taking undue advantage of external support, the more explicit conditionality is likely to be demanded.”

At 9 a.m. (EDT), the APMEX Precious Metals spot prices were:

  • Gold, $1,734.40, Up $1.70.
  • Silver, $33.21, Down $0.09.
  • Platinum, $1,661.40, Up $10.80.
  • Palladium, $684.60, Up $5.30.

APMEX’s Account Managers now have extended hours Mondays through Thursdays and are here to serve you until 8 p.m. (EDT)! Or call us Fridays until 6 p.m. (EDT)! If you have any questions about investing in Precious Metals or simply would prefer to place your order by telephone, we are here to help.

 

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Stocks report mild gains in anticipation of QE3

 

U.S. stocks are reporting modest gains today as investors are guarded in anticipation of potential quantitative easing (QE3). Thursday will conclude a two day session of the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) after which many analysts foresee Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke potentially announcing further government stimulus. Economists are expecting the announcement following 43 consecutive months of unemployment above 8% and an economy that grew less than 2% in the second quarter of 2012. A poll of economists who put the chances of QE3 above 50% resulted in 39 out of 51 predicting action on the part of the Fed during this week. “Monetary stimulus will ‘shore up’ a fundamentally weak economy, as opposed to helping the U.S. economy attain a significantly faster underlying rate of growth,” said John Lonski, economist at Moody’s Investors Service.

Gold futures are also realizing humble gains as a German court ruling has allowed Berlin to ratify a final euro zone rescue fund along with news from the FOMC. “With the market’s main focus on this week’s [Fed] meeting…prices were buoyed by a stronger euro,” said strategists at HSBC. The next 24 hours could prove to be eventful for precious metals markets.

At 1 p.m. (EDT), the APMEX Precious Metals spot prices were:

  • Gold, $1,732.30, Down $1.60.
  • Silver, $33.12, Down $0.46.
  • Platinum, $1,649.20, Up $41.20.
  • Palladium, $679.10, Up $4.30.

APMEX’s Account Managers now have extended hours Mondays through Thursdays and are here to serve you until 8 p.m. (EDT)! Or call us Fridays until 6 p.m. (EDT)! If you have any questions about investing in Precious Metals or simply would prefer to place your order by telephone, we are here to help.

 

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Gold Pushing Towards $1700 – Silvers Above $32

 

European Central Bank

European Central Bank (Photo credit: Travel Aficionado)

 

Comex gold futures are slightly higher this morning setting new five month highs. Gold and silver prices shot upwards after Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke seemed to open the door to QE3 in his speech last week from Jackson Hole. Now, markets are focused on the monthly meeting of the European Central Bank, which takes place on Thursday. Many analysts expect the ECB will announce a monetary stimulus plan that will boost both stocks and precious metals.

 

Adding more pressure to the ECB, Moody’s Investors Service changes its euro zone outlook to negative. Moody’s warns that if they cut the ratings of the European Union’s four biggest budget backers: Germany, France, the U.K. and Netherlands, they might just downgrade the entire bloc.

 

The U.S. and Europe may not be the only economies on the verge of receiving a stimulus. Although the Chinese government has yet to implement any stimulus measures in the face of a slowing Chinese economy, there is additional evidence that their economy is slowing. On Saturday, the official manufacturing-sector survey came out 49.2 in August. This falls below the level of 50 that separates expansion from contraction. In another survey more focused on small to mid-size business, published by HSBC, the number was 47.6.

 

At 9AM EDT the APMEX precious metal prices were:

 

  • Gold price – $1,691.70 – up $5.60
  • Silver price – $32.20 – up 76 cents
  • Platinum price – $1,558.10 – up $19.80
  • Palladium price – $640.80 – up $11.40

 

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End of week Gold and Silver report

 

Gold waited all week for direction:

As the week started gold and other markets had all eyes on a small town in Wyoming called Jackson Hole. That is where an annual meeting is held by the U.S. Federal Reserve and in the past has given way to significant monetary action such as two rounds of easing. There was a lot of speculation and waiting for news. For some, it was not going to be an extraordinary event.  Many financial specialists believe the Jackson Hole meeting will not be the critical event that could trigger further government financial stimulus this time around. “The critical period is really from Friday to the 12th (of September) — the constitutional court decision,” said Paul Mendelsohn, chief investment strategist at Windham Financial Services in Charlotte, Vt. Many others shared a different view of the meetings of the Fed. While the question remains whether there will be another round of monetary easing, if the answer is “no,” it could affect Gold’s price. “We see near term risks of a reversal if Jackson Hole does not deliver what the market is hoping for,” said Nick Trevethan, senior metals strategist at ANZ in Singapore. Friday came and so did the report with Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke giving indications that the Fed will soon embark on another round of bond buying, otherwise known as quantitative easing (QE). “It is important to achieve further progress, particularly in the labor market,” Bernanke said. “Taking due account of the uncertainties and limits of its policy tools, the Federal Reserve will provide additional policy accommodation as needed to promote a stronger economic recovery and sustained improvement in labor market conditions in a context of price stability.” Bernanke cited previous rounds of easing as effective in stimulating economic development and job creation without hastening inflation.

Europe still trying to work through issues:

Europe clearly took a backseat this week to the Fed’s potential monetary easing announcement, but the European Central Bank (ECB) is readying for an ECB Governing Council meeting next week. James Reid of Deutsche Bank said, “For now, Europe is in a holding pattern ahead of clarity surrounding the next move in the great ECB bond buying maneuverings, and the U.S. is in limbo ahead of Bernanke’s Jackson Hole appearance tomorrow. For the latter, speculation mounts that Bernanke won’t say anything overly new in his speech.” The eurozone is in a battle of its own, regardless of what the Fed decides. Spain is being sucked into the center of the eurozone debt crisis. Spanish consumers have pulled as much as 5 percent of their private sector deposits. The other side of this coin is that Greek banks are seeing a boost in their deposits since June elections. Private sector deposits are up about 2 percent. The World Gold Council is suggesting a creative way of looking at Gold in the eurozone. Many pundits have suggested that troubled eurozone countries sell Gold to take care of their debts. This ill advised idea sounds like a simple resolution, but of course it is more complicated than that. The World Gold Council has suggested bonds and loans backed by Gold. Some groups (LCH.Clearnet, Intercontinental Exchange, and the Chicago Mercantile Exchange) have begun accepting Gold as collateral for margin requirements recently. Gillian Tett of Financial Times wrote that this “suggest(s) that a slow evolution of attitudes is under way — not so much in terms of the desirability of Gold per se, but the increasing undesirability and riskiness of other supposedly ‘safe’ assets, such as government bonds.”

United States economy still giving mixed reports:

In the U.S.A., a trend of economic growth could be a reason the announcement of another round of easing by the Federal Reserve was not made today. One discussion is surrounding the small amount of growth and whether it is enough to sustain a positive direction moving forward. The United States’ gross domestic product (GDP) went up in the second quarter by 1.7 percent, which was 0.2 percent more than a previous estimate. The GDP is seen as a key indicator of the economy. While there was improvement, many believe it was at a level low enough to warrant more action by the Fed. The release of the weekly jobless claims report has had little effect on Gold and Silver. The four week moving average of new claims rose by 1,500, while the week to week change was flat. Personal consumer spending increased in July to a five month high, according to data from the Commerce Department. Falling gasoline prices coupled with moderate increases in income to provide consumers a bit more to spend this midsummer. Despite July’s increase, consumers have been cautious on spending for most of the year, with a decrease in June and a flat report in May. “In the first quarter of the year, Americans saved less in order to spend more,” said Chris Christopher, senior economist at IHS Global Insight. “In the second quarter, job prospects were not very promising, so Americans put more money aside and spent less.”

 

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