Precious metals are near unchanged this morning, with the exception of palladium, which has pushed back up above $1,000 an ounce. Gold remains in striking distance of the important psychological barrier of $1,300.
Gold prices blipped downward from $1,297 as Wall St opened higher. Retailers reported that yesterday's Cyber Monday set an all-time record for online sales.
The US dollar is seeing strength this morning, as yesterday's rallies in both the euro and British pound reverse. The dollar received another boost this morning as consumer confidence in the US rose to 129.5 in November, up 3.6 points from October. Economists had expected a retreat to 124. This marks the best month for consumer confidence in more than 16 years.
In other financial news. Federal Reserve Board of Governors member Jerome Powell begins his first day of confirmation hearings before the Senate Banking Committee. President Trump has nominated Powell to succeed Janet Yellen as Chairman of the Fed upon the end of her term on February 3rd. Once considered to tend toward the hawkish side of monetary policy, Powell has recently indicated that he will continue Yellen's policy toward interest rates and accomodative economic measures.
Also before the microphone today are influential New York Fed president William Dudley, and Philadelphia Fed president Patrick Harker.
The struggles in the Senate to get a tax overhaul finished by the end of the year is being attacked on all fronts. Traditional Tea Party and deficit hawks are pushing back on the huge increase in the Federal deficit that the tax plan would cause. Democrats in the Senate decry that tax cuts for the rich and for corporations come at the expense of the middle class. More opposition is coming from concerns over defunding the Affordable Care Act at the same time rural America is seeing massive deaths from the national opiod epidemic.
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