Precious metals prices were pointing higher this morning after rising across the board in overnight trading. Gold remained firm at $1,215/oz after touching a two-week high around $1,220, and silver is at $16.70/oz. Some profit taking pared the gains. Both of the PGMs also moved higher, with platinum recovering to $1,190/oz after its recent slide and palladium strong at $825/oz. This modest bump for the metals comes even as the dollar is robust, registering at about 95.15 on the DXY after easing up a bit this morning. Precious metals are also being lifted by the paper markets, where gold and silver ETF holdings are at yearly highs.
Gold got a lift this morning to recover a substantial portion of yesterday’s gains that were given up before the ending bell, as last quarter’s GDP was revised down from 2.6% to 2.2%, and the Chicago PMI plunged from 59.4 last month to 45.8 this month — a five and a half year low.
Wall St. is struggling again today in the face of depressing economic data, despite perceptions that the Fed is in no hurry to raise benchmark interest rates.
Each of the precious metals opened higher this morning while crude oil prices slid back considerably. Along with a weaker euro (trading at $1.126 to the dollar), this pushed the greenback higher, as it rose to 94.9 on DXY spot index. While gold jumped nearly 1% to move back above $1,210/oz, silver added another 25 cents to inch above $16.70/oz. Platinum and palladium were also sharply higher in early morning trading, with the latter rising back toward $815/oz. Much of the focus in the markets shifted from international affairs to a slew of mildly disappointing economic data in the U.S. released this morning. WTI crude fell by more than 2% this morning, slipping below $50/bbl, while Brent was actually up slightly, widening the gap between the two benchmarks.
Both gold and silver opened markedly higher this morning while Fed Chair Janet Yellen’s gives her second day of testimony in front of Congress today, speaking in front of the House Financial Services Committee. Gold was up about $8 this morning, back above $1,205/oz, while silver was back up 25 cents, better than 1.5%, to $16.50/oz. Platinum and palladium were also up slightly in early trading. After yesterday’s unsurprising “Yellen Rally,” stocks pointed slightly lower this morning, but will likely advance following the Fed Chair’s semiannual testimony to the House of Representatives.
While shares jumped in Greece thanks to the European Commission okaying the proposed deal to extend the country’s bailout assistance funds, stocks were largely idle in the States as the markets await Janet Yellen’s testimony before the Senate Banking Committee today. Considering the economic uncertainty and anxious sentiment floating around in the first two months of the year, it would be a bit surprising if the Fed Chair offered a hawkish report to Congress over the next two days. To this point, Fed policy has continued to encourage a risk-off environment, as investors tend to expect the federal funds rate to remain abnormally low for at least the next 6 months. Though crude oil prices were up about 1.25% this morning, the precious metals were all barely in the red.
While U.S. stock indices opened lower this morning and precious metals halted, shares in mainland Europe were in the green on the calm of Friday’s loan extension agreement between Greece and its creditors. Germany’s DAX stock index advanced back near its recent all-time high, while shares across the continent were about 0.50% higher this morning. Only London’s FTSE lagged behind, off by just 0.20%. Even though the agreement with Greece is merely a measure to buy time, business confidence around Europe is nonetheless on the rise. In the States, stocks fell into the red just slightly on crude oil weakness; Asian markets were up, taking the Greek news well, as the Nikkei 225 reached its highest levels since the spring of 2000. Precious metals were up slightly, though silver far outpaced the rest, adding almost 1.5% to cross back above $16.50/oz.
Both stocks and precious metals were mostly flat this morning as all eyes turn to the ongoing talks between Greek officials and eurozone finance ministers. There continues to be mixed signals from the negotiations, with pressure being put on the Greeks to soften their stance against austerity by a German-led group, while the U.S. and others are sympathetic to Greek’s precarious position. The finance minister from Malta even remarked of Greece, “If you want to leave [the euro], leave.” Although European shares have been advancing with the continued expectation that a deal will be reached, the reality is it a bit more shaky. U.S. indices opened about 0.5% in the red while gold and silver were flat. Platinum is lagging far behind just above $1,160/oz. The big stock news yesterday was the Wal-Mart shares tumbled more than 3% after the corporate giant announced it would be raising wages for a large portion of its employees over the next two years.
Crude oil prices, which had been holding their recent gains, fell sharply this morning after record high U.S. petroleum inventories were announced. Brent crude and WTI crude gave up over 4% and 5%, respectively, in early morning trading. Wall Street opened lower despite a drop in jobless claims that shows the labor market is firming up. European shares were mixed this morning with no resolution yet in the Greek conundrum, but most experts remain convinced that a deal will be struck in the near future. Sentiment in Europe is also being hurt by the continuous flow of news implicating the continent’s biggest banks in aiding tax evaders and laundering illicit money. Though gold was moving higher this morning–at least in the paper markets–platinum continued to slide, falling as low as $1,170/oz, nearly $40 off of the spot gold price.