More analysts are weighing in on the strength gold showed in the face of a surging dollar and better than expected jobs data Friday, raising the possibility that a firm floor has been formed. The ability of the yellow metal to stay above $1,555 while taking a beating should reduce speculative selling in the near term.
Gold is stronger in overnight trading as bad economic news in China and Europe depress their equity markets. Fitch downgraded Italy's credit rating to BBB+ with a negative outlook, causing European stock markets to drop from the 4 and a half year high they reached Friday. The euro followed stocks lower, but the yield on U.K. bonds dropped as investors bought them up and dropped Italian bonds. Adding to the EU woes, French industrial output for January dropped a stunning 1.2%, against expectations of a drop of 0.2%. This puts Europe's second-largest economy on a path of a renewed recession.
In China, inflation jumped to 3.2% in February, compared to 2.0% in January. This is a ten-month high for inflation in China. Delivering another blow was news that both industrial production and retail sales fell lower than expected for the same period. Chinese leaders are now faced with either tightening the money supply to combat inflation and choke business growth, or focus on the economy and risk being unable to stop inflation. The Chinese and Hong Kong indexes fell on this news, while the Nikkei index in Japan rose to a 4.5-year high on a weaker yen.
The U.S. dollar is still near a 7-month high, and oil is slightly lower on the news out of China. Wall St. opened lower, reflecting the conditions of the European and Asian markets.