Market Recap 5/20/11

News that IMF director Strauss-Kahn was arrested early in the week on attempted sexual assault charges came as a shock to the international finance community. As of Friday, he had resigned as the IMF Director, effective immediately. However, serious questions remain as to the full ramifications and impact this may have on the different negotiations he was involved with in abating the European financial crises facing Portugal and Greece.

Precious metals moved up and down this week to finally end on a generally more positive note. Gold and Silver both saw modest gains as Euro-zone debt fears resurfaced lead by the news that Greece is still headed for restructuring. Spain also is in the spotlight as Spanish citizens go the polls this weekend with the ruling party expected to suffer. Spain has a larger economy than the other embattled Euro-zone economies of Ireland, Portugal, and Greece combined.

Compared the basket of global currencies it is normally compared with, the dollar strengthened this week. Typically, a stronger dollar means lower prices for Gold as it becomes more expensive for holders of foreign currency to own. Gold’s historic safe haven has bolstered its strength giving it the stamina to gain alongside the dollar as the European Union addresses the debt fears of its member nations.

The stock market has ended the week on a sour note as poor retail data from companies like GAP Inc and Aeropostale each lost more than 14 percent after cutting profit forecasts for the year. They cited higher costs for raw materials and sluggish sales for the change in forecast.

Spot Gold prices opened this week at $1,499.70. The high during the week was on Friday, May 20th, at $1,515.80, while the low for the week occurred on Tuesday, May 17th, at $1,471.10. Gold ended the week up $15.40 at $1,515.10. This week, the most popular Gold bullion products were 2011 Gold American Eagles, 1 oz. Pamp Suisse Gold Bars, and 2011 1 oz. Gold Maple Leafs.

Spot Silver prices opened this week at $35.59. Silver reached a high of $35.75 on Thursday, May 19th, while this week’s low for Silver occurred on Tuesday, May 17th, at $32.96. Silver ended the week down $0.42 at $35.17. The most popular Silver products on this week were 2011 Silver American Eagles, 2011 Silver Maple Leafs, 1 oz. Silver Buffalo Rounds and 10 oz. APMEX Silver Bars.

Spot Platinum prices opened this week at $1,768.50 and ended the week up $6.40 at $1,774.90. Popular Platinum products this week included, 1 oz. Platinum Bars, 1/10 oz. Platinum American Eagles, and 1 oz. Platinum American Eagles.

Spot Palladium prices opened this week at $711.90 and ended the week up $27.70 at $739.60. Palladium investors preferred 1 oz. Pamp Suisse Palladium Bars and Palladium Canadian Maple Leafs this week at

Featured Bullion Product:
Each week, APMEX will review a different bullion product for the benefit of our readers. This week, we will review the Austrian 100 Corona Gold Coins.

Because of the history behind them, the Austrian 100 Corona Gold Coins are some of the most interesting coins in the world. For example, the Austrian 100 Corona Gold Coins were among some of the first Gold bullion coins available upon the enactment of an executive order on December 31, 1974, that re-entitled Americans to own Gold bullion. In addition to their availability at the time of the 1974 order, the Austrian Corona Gold Coins are also fascinating because they are restrikes, which are official reproductions of coins that were originally minted for circulation. Issued from 1908 to 1914, the Austrian 100 Gold Coins first featured their date of issue. However, after the death of the Austrian Emperor Franz Joseph, the Gold coins were produced as commemorative pieces and were dated 1915.

Minted in Vienna Austria, the Austrian 100 Corona Gold Coin is .900 fine Gold (21.6-karat Gold) and contains 0.9802 troy ounces of Gold. Designed by Stephan Schwartz, the Austrian 100 Corona Gold Coin pays tribute to Austrian nationalism and pride. The obverse of the Austrian Corona Gold Coin displays a portrait of the Austrian Emperor Franz Joseph I, who ruled from 1848 to 1916. The reverse features the Austrian Coat of Arms, depicting a double eagle and a crown. Moreover, the edges of the Austrian 100 Corona Gold Coins include the lettering Vnitus Viribvs, which means “the unified strength,” a well-known motto attributed to Franz Joseph I. No longer minted, the Austrian 100 Corona Gold Coins are some of the lowest-premium Gold bullion coins available on the world coin market. Appealing to both collectors and investors alike, the Austrian 100 Corona Gold Coins have begun to attract attention for both their unique history and low premium Gold status.