U.S. stocks reached all-time highs on Monday with the S&P 500 and Dow Jones Industrial Average seeing little change through Tuesday. “We’ve had a stealth rally in the market to this record,” Eric Marshall, a portfolio manager at Hodges Funds, said. “The fact that we’ve moved up and hit new highs, in spite of some lingering negative sentiment is a very healthy and positive thing for the market.” Investors are now awaiting the completion of earnings season as over 75 percent of S&P 500 organizations have weighed in with positive reports. Ongoing strength in earnings data could force equities markets higher in the short-term.
Platinum and Palladium traded higher early in the week as supply concerns continue in South Africa due to ongoing miner strikes. South Africa is responsible for a large portion of the world’s Platinum and Palladium production, which has been reduced by nearly 40 percent since the strikes began four months ago. "A sudden end to the strike would lead to a sharp drop, but we believe the market is working under a structural production/consumption deficit, and we are therefore bullish medium- to longer-term," James Steel, chief precious metals analyst at HSBC, said.
U.S. unemployment figures dropped to their lowest level in seven years Thursday, dragging Gold down following Wednesday’s mild surge. “Jobless claims dropping below 300,000 is a big deal and people are getting convinced that the economy is showing signs of recovery,” Phil Streible, a senior commodity broker at R.J. O’Brien & Associates, said. However, signs of economic growth have failing to force Gold too low as ongoing geopolitical turmoil in Ukraine is helping buoy the yellow metal. The Gold price will more than likely maintain a tug-of-war while concerns regarding unrest in Ukraine struggle against the forces of continued domestic economic growth.
Friday saw stock futures rise on housing data, a day after equities were pummeled by poor earnings from Wal-Mart. Alpari, U.K., Ltd. research analyst Joshua Mahoney said, “The hesitancy seen within markets could lead many to believe we are seeing a top and thus will be looking at more bearish set-ups.” Another bearish sign for stocks is the situation in Ukraine, with reports that Ukrainian troops are attempting to force separatists out of two towns serving as bases for the opposition.
Gold and Silver turned lower in early morning trading Friday after housing data showed higher-than-expected new home construction numbers. VTB Capital analyst Andrey Kryuchenkov said, “Gold is still stuck in a narrow range because the downside is limited by geopolitical concerns and the upside is capped by generally good U.S. data, which suggest the [Federal Reserve] will carry on with the current pace of stimulus tapering. You have one central bank reducing its quantitative easing when the ECB (European Central Bank) does the opposite. From the simple perspective of the dollar, it should be relatively strong.”
In closing Friday, the Gold price is set to realize a mild weekly gain as strong U.S. economic data continues to hamper any significant rally for Precious Metals caused by the crisis in Ukraine. Reassuring unemployment numbers, good home construction figures and strong corporate earnings all point to increasing strength in the domestic economy. Benchmark equities indexes have reached all-time highs as the mounting improvement in macroeconomic data helped the Dow Jones Industrial Average and S&P 500 briefly realize record levels. With geopolitical turmoil simmering in Ukraine and strong data regarding the U.S. economy struggling to force steady momentum for Precious Metals prices, Gold remains range-bound pending further impetus.
Headed into the latter half of May, investors will continue to weigh the prospects for further unrest in Ukraine as they digest both domestic and global economic data. Time will tell if U.S. stocks can continue their rally as Gold looks to find a catalyst to break out of its current trading range.
At 5 p.m. (ET), the APMEX Precious Metals spot prices were:
- Gold, $1,291.90, Down $0.10.
- Silver, $19.24, Up $0.11.
- Platinum, $1,432.90, Down $4.00.
- Palladium, $802.50, Up $3.80.
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