Thursday morning saw the gold price finally breach the $1,250-per-ounce mark as demand for precious metals as a safe haven has continued to be robust. The yellow metal opened about 0.25% higher this morning, hovering around $1,250/oz. Spot silver also rose about 0.7% to trade north of $17.60/oz.
Platinum added 0.5% while the palladium price surged over 2% to break through $800/oz for the first time since March 2015—a two-year high.
The financial markets were digesting the news announced—and data to be released—on Thursday. Weekly jobless claims rose by 15,000 according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), reaching a seven-week high (though still well below 300,000). The release of the most recent numbers on new home sales (from February) at 10 am EST will also give some indication about whether or not the U.S. real estate market is really overheating. Consumers have become considerably more skeptical of a hot housing market as the echoes of the financial crisis still reverberate.
Stocks around the world looked to rebound today after U.S. shares rallied to a strong close yesterday. Aside from London’s FTSE 100, global indices were almost uniformly in positive territory during early trading. The three major U.S. stock indices all slid slightly into the red during early trading, however. The dollar was flat, sitting at a six-week low of 99.7 on the DXY index. This particularly helped (or hurt?) the Japanese yen, which firmed up to ¥110 per dollar, a fresh four-month high.
In addition to the housing and employment data, markets will no doubt react to comments that Fed Chair Janet Yellen is giving as the keynote speaker in Washington this morning. Yellen began speaking at 8:45 EST and will be followed by new Minneapolis Fed President Neel Kashkari at 12:30 pm EST. Kashkari was a notable dissenter on the March rate hike, preferring more dovish policy amid global uncertainty.
Speaking of uncertainty, traders have clearly begun to show pangs of anxiety about global growth and the impact of rising interest rates, among other pending developments in the markets. This has renewed demand for traditional safe havens like gold and government bonds. To wit, the 10-year Treasury yield has tumbled below 2.40% after trading as high as 2.60% less than three weeks ago. Over that span, gold prices have advanced better than 4%. This is despite several rounds of profit-taking and significantly weaker commodity prices (at least for crude oil). Crude was down again by about 0.4% this morning.
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