Global markets were somewhat sleepy after the long Memorial Day weekend, with no real dramatic action as trading desks reopened for business on Tuesday. A stronger dollar drove gold prices modestly slight, as spot gold lost almost $5 per ounce this morning to trade at $1,262/oz. Spot silver was down 5¢ per ounce (-0.25%) to $17.27/oz.
Meanwhile, platinum fell almost 2% to $940/oz and palladium actually added 0.75% to roughly $800/oz.
Markets were closed in the U.S. and abroad on Monday, so here’s what happened on Friday:
Both the Nasdaq and S&P 500 ended the session at record-highs, although the indices were just barely higher. The Dow Jones finished slightly in the red to fall short of another record close. U.S. equities were up for the week.
Crude oil prices recovered some of their losses from earlier in the week, but remained under pressure from ongoing supply concerns. The U.S. rig count (according to Baker Hughes) continues to climb, as the number of active rigs has more than doubled over the last 52 weeks.
The dollar gained slightly after first-quarter GDP was revised higher from 0.7% to 1.2%, yet the greenback has still lose almost 2% during the month of May. Gold prices rose for the third consecutive week.
Economic Data, ECB
Newly released economic data in the U.S. was in the spotlight on Tuesday, although stocks were mixed. The Commerce Department reported that consumer spending rose by 0.4% in April, the biggest jump in four months. At the same time, however, wage gains and a rise in spending were undercut by higher monthly inflation, as well.
The 10-year U.S. Treasury yield was slightly lower around 2.23% in early trading Tuesday, while the dollar was mostly flat at 97.5 on the DXY index. Overall, however, the greenback has been trending upward thanks to developments in Europe and the U.K.
There is some concern in the eurozone that the European Central Bank (ECB) will choose not to pursue any further economic stimulus due to improving conditions. Insiders have suggested that this will be on the table for discussion at the next policy meeting for the central bank, especially as this appears more politically feasible than it did just a few months ago. The talk of no more stimulus helped lift the euro sharply higher to nearly $1.12. Stocks in Europe were mostly lower, however.
Both newly-elected French President Macron and ECB President Draghi were busy talking down the revitalized euro, though the ECB speculation has already added fuel to the fire. The British pound sterling was also down after polls have shown that the Torries have squandered a sizable lead in the upcoming national elections in the U.K. Since the euro and the pound make up the biggest chunk of the DXY currency basket, it makes sense that the dollar would be higher as these two currencies lose ground. This dents some of the short-term appeal of gold.
In other geopolitical news, North Korea has claimed a new breakthrough in it its missile technology, which the rogue nation has repeatedly been testing in recent weeks. Like anything else the North Korean regime claims, this bellicose statement should be taken with a grain of salt, though it may have the effect of stirring up some safe haven flight from investors, especially in the Pacific.
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