Morning Market Update March 12

Gold hit a two-week high in European trading, and rode that boost into New York, as Wall St. looks at a mainly flat morning, and surging dollar is trading slightly in the red. The gold surge, on news that U.K. industrial output contracted significantly, triggered short covering and buy stops, with word on the street that between 4,000 and 8,000 buy orders were triggered early this morning. Safe haven demand on news out of China and the U.K. may have played a part in the jump that triggered the automatic orders.

China has announced curbs on real estate purchases in an effort to curb rapidly rising housing costs. This caused Chinese stocks to drop to a 2-month low, and cause some safe haven flight into the yen.

In the U.S., Treasuries saw fresh action and the dollar dropped from its 7-month high after gold was able to maintain its rally. This is despite the Labor Dept. saying that job openings increased by 81,000 in January, to a level of 3.61 million. The U.S. stock market seems to be the only one not feeling the blues today, but the decline in all the other indexes is dampening the party.

Gold has broken out of the narrow $1,555-$1,585 range it has been stuck in, hitting a high this morning of $1,599.70 just before the COMEX opening bell. All eyes are on the charts today to see how low the yellow metal can maintain these levels. Silver came along for the ride this morning, but has been more volatile, as it usually is. Platinum also got a small boost, but palladium continues to forge its own path.

by David Peterson

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