After third-quarter GDP was revised higher on Wednesday, beating expectations, the precious metals lost significant ground, reversing Tuesday's gains. Spot gold lost $10 (-0.8%) to $1,283/oz while spot silver slid 24¢ (-1.4%) to fall near $16.60/oz. Platinum was slightly below unchanged at $944/oz and palladium fared the worst of the four metals, losing about 1.4%. However, palladium remains above $1,000/oz.
The second reading of gross domestic product (GDP) in the U.S. during Q3 came in at 3.3%, exceeding the 3.2% estimate of economic analysts. This is an even more encouraging sign for the economy after back-to-back quarters of expansion better than 3%. It also increases the odds that the Fed will indeed raise interest rates again next month. Incoming Fed Chair Jerome Powell indicated that the case for a rate hike in December is strong during his confirmation hearing in the Senate. Investors are also encouraged that Powell has suggested loosening regulation in the financial sector.
There was some alarm when North Korea fired an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) yesterday in an apparent display of the country's military might. It was the first missile test by the Kim regime in over two months. The new weapon could purportedly reach the United States, though nearby Japan and South Korea are understandably more immediately concerned by the threat.
Equities in Asia were largely unmoved by the North Korean bellicosity. Tokyo's Nikkei 225 advanced 0.5% despite the missile reportedly landing near the Pacific island. In some sense, it's a sign that constant agitation by North Korea is being accepted by global markets as the "new normal."
Meanwhile, all three major indices in the U.S. notched record-highs at Tuesday's close. Over the last month, Wall St has gained more than 2%. Optimism is being bolstered by progress on passing a tax reform bill in Congress. If debate on the tax bill begins today, the Senate could vote on the measure as soon as tomorrow. A bill reconciling the differences between the House and Senate versions would then have to be approved by both chambers.
The U.S. dollar added about 0.1% to trade at 93.35 on the DXY index while the euro slipped to just above $1.18. Just a day after rapidly approaching the $10,000 milestone, the cryptocurrency Bitcoin is now trading above $11,000. The brief history of Bitcoin prices is littered with spikes and sharp pullbacks, so there's really no telling what direction it goes from here. What is clear is that speculators are now jumping in the crypto pool with both feet.
In commodities news, the oil cartel OPEC may be prepared to extend its production cuts all the way through 2018 in a bid to support higher oil prices. Reporting from the group's meeting in Vienna, Austria suggest that OPEC (and a handful of oil-producing nations who are not official members, including Russia) may reevaluate the move next summer. Oil prices slipped 0.2% lower on the news, sending WTI crude to $57.90/bbl.
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