Gold is seeing some consolidation this morning after gaining over 4% yesterday on a "Bernanke bounce." Gold zoomed yesterday afternoon as the Fed chairman told the U.S. Senate the quantitative easing would continue for the foreseeable future. Today, he speaks before the House of Representatives, where he will undoubtedly say the same thing.
The big news in the U.S. is that we are two days away from mandatory across the board spending cuts to the federal government. "Across the board" means that the respective departments have NO choice in where to cut back- they must cut every program and project by 9%. This is where the pain of the "sequester" comes from, and what was supposed to make it too horrible to even contemplate allowing to happen. As the non-negotiations in Washington this week prove, no one should under estimate the disfunctionality of either party in Congress.
Durable goods orders were reported up, while new mortgage applications were reported down today. The dollar is slightly down from a 6-month high that was hit yesterday, while oil is barely up from yesterday's two-month low.
The euro was up slightly as today's Italian bond sale did not blow up over the political deadlock caused by the national election. It remains to be seen if a coalition government can be cobbled together from the three main factions. 55% of Italians voted for anti-austerity candidates, casting into doubt the long-term future of Europes third-largest economy as a member of the EU.
China and Hong Kong stocks were up overnight, on expectations that restrictions on foreign investment would be loosened. Chinese stocks had the best day in three weeks, despite a reported drop in exports that may signify that the economic recovery may be weaker than first thought. The Nikkei was down today, led by a drop in automotive stock caused by the yen stopping its slide against other major currencies. A stronger yen is bullish for gold, as it makes gold cheaper for Japanese buyers. Due to Japan's deflationary economy, there are few higher yield competitors for gold.