(Kitco News) – Gold prices are modestly lower in early-afternoon U.S. trading Thursday. Silver prices are near steady after hitting a five-week high overnight. Both metals are saw normal corrective pullbacks and some chart consolidation from recent gains. February gold futures were last down $2.60 an ounce at $1,247.40. March Comex silver was down $0.001 at $14.85 an ounce.
Today’s meeting of the European Central Bank saw no changes in interest rates, but the ECB announced the end of its quantitative easing of monetary policy. ECB President Mario Draghi at his press conference after the meeting gave a downbeat assessment for European Union economic growth prospects. Metals prices were little moved on the news.
European stock markets were mostly weaker overnight. Asian stock indexes were mostly firmer. U.S. stock indexes are weaker in afternoon trading. World equity markets have been assuaged this week by the perceived progress between the U.S. and China in their trade talks. Reports say China is making somewhat significant changes to come into line with U.S. demands. While the rally in the equities markets on the trade talks’ progress is a bearish element for the competing assets gold and silver, the prospect for better worldwide demand for metals on a U.S.-China trade agreement is bullish for the metals.
The key outside markets early today find the U.S. dollar index firmer and not far below the fresh for-the-move high scored Tuesday. Meantime, Nymex crude oil prices are firmer and trading around $52.00 a barrel.
Technically, the gold bulls still have the overall near-term technical advantage. A four-week-old price uptrend is in place on the daily bar chart. Gold bulls’ next upside near-term price breakout objective is to produce a close in February futures above solid technical resistance at the July high of $1,284.10. Bears’ next near-term downside price breakout objective is pushing prices below solid technical support at $1,225.00. First resistance is seen at today’s high of $1,251.70 and then at this week’s high of $1,256.60. First support is seen at today’s low of $1,244.40 and then at $1,240.00. Wyckoff’s Market Rating: 6.0
March silver futures bears still have the overall near-term technical advantage. However, bulls have momentum and are working on a three-week-old price uptrend on the daily bar chart. Silver bulls’ next upside price breakout objective is closing prices above solid technical resistance at the October high of $15.055 an ounce. The next downside price breakout objective for the bears is closing prices below solid support at the November low of $13.985. First resistance is seen at $15.00 and then at $15.055. Next support is seen at this week’s low of $14.565 and then at last week’s low of $14.28. Wyckoff’s Market Rating: 4.0.
March N.Y. copper closed up 45 points at 277.45 cents today. Prices closed nearer the session low today. The copper bears have the overall near-term technical advantage. Copper bulls’ next upside price objective is pushing and closing prices above solid technical resistance at the September high of 288.80 cents. The next downside price objective for the bears is closing prices below solid technical support at the November low of 266.20 cents. First resistance is seen at today’s high of 280.35 cents and then at 282.50 cents. First support is seen at 274.00 cents and then at the December low of 270.80 cents. Wyckoff’s Market Rating: 3.5.