Spot gold is trading near unchanged this morning, standing firm against rallies in stocks and crude oil. Spot gold closed up $8.10 to $1,208.40 an ounce, while April gold futures were up slightly to $1,211.40.
Look for first resistance at the overnight low a $1,214. A breach of this will open up $1,220 as the next target. $1,200 remains our first support level, followed by $1,191.
The release of the January FOMC minutes yesterday showed a Fed that was already beginning to second-guess itself over the December hike in benchmark interest rates. Stocks saw this as a dovish sign, and took off. Energy and bank stocks led the charge, fueled by continued talks of an oil production freeze, and the FOMC minutes, respectively. Some analysts are pointing to the outsized performance of these sectors as evidence that the current rally is mainly from shorts being covered.
Showing off its recent volatility, oil futures posted solid gains on the slim hope that talks among the top oil producers will eventually lead to cuts in crude output. OPEC members continue to play the "central bankers" game, using press conferences where nothing substantial is said to move oil prices higher. Today, Iraq followed Iran's lead by saying that these talks of a production freeze were a good thing, but declined to say whether they would actually sign on to that pledge.
Some solid data helped underpin the rally though, as the American Petroleum Institute reported a surprise draw-down of US crude stockpiles. According to the API, stocks fell 3.3 million barrels, instead of increasing by 3.9 million barrels as analysts had expected. Options expiry of the front-running US crude contract also helped prices.
News of more monetary stimulus in China, and first-time jobless claims in the US dropping to a three-month low helped stocks open higher, but profit taking after the last three days of gains promptly sent the S&P 500 and Nasdaq into negative territory. The Dow is barely holding on above unchanged. Crude futures, however, are continuing their rally, up over 2% in morning trading.
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