UPDATED: Russian announcement of large-scale military maneuvers on Ukrainian border, and threat to invade eastern Ukraine to protect ethnic Russian population sends gold up $30/oz in minutes. All metals showing large vertical gains on daily charts. News sends global stock markets sharply lower, dollar plunges back into the red.
Gold was pushed below sell stops in late European trading this morning, driving the price to ten-week lows before bargain hunting and short covering took over. Silver and the PGMs were also pushed lower, but are recovering. The push below $775 for palladium sparked big buy orders, and the price promptly shot up over $10.
Two big reports out of the U.S. are moving markets this morning, and not in the same direction. Durable goods orders came in stronger than expected, growing 2.6% after a 2.1% last month. Analysts were expecting a 2% increase. A lot of this increase is once again due to “inventory stuffing”, as inventories rose to a new all-time high, but increased airliner sales at Boeing was also a notable factor.
The durable goods report sent the dollar sharply higher, assisted by ECB president Mario Draghi hinting once again that the organization could begin outright bond purchases, Fed-style, if inflation remained far below 1%. This weakened the euro against both the dollar and yen.
The help still didn’t allow the greenback to crack the 80 mark on the DXY index before it started settling down again.
The other big news this morning is that first-time jobless claims saw a huge increase of 24,000 applications, for a total of 329,000 people reporting being fired this week. Analysts had expected an increase of less than half of what was reported. This news help precious metals rally.
Stock markets were higher on better-than-expected earnings results from Apple and Facebook, as well as the U.S. durable goods reports.
In another sign that the pursuit for returns is getting out of hand, Spain’s latest bond auction was so popular that it sold debt at record low yields. It seems that even the riskiest of junk bonds are so popular, that they are selling for yields that investment-grade bonds sold for ten years ago. Speaking of bonds, the Treasury Department reported that foreign demand for 10-year Treasury notes hit a 12-month low.