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Gold price pauses ahead of Powell, non-farm payrolls

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(Kitco News) - Gold is steady-firmer and silver prices are modestly lower in early U.S. trading Thursday. The markets are pausing ahead of key data points today and Friday. Rising government bond yields this week and a higher U.S. dollar index today are bearish outside forces limiting buying interest in the precious metals markets. April gold futures were up $0.80 at $1,716.50 and May Comex silver was last down $0.217 at $26.175 an ounce.

Global stock markets were mostly lower overnight. U.S. stock indexes are pointed toward lower openings when the New York day session begins. Traders and investors are keeping a wary eye on government bond yields, which have been generally rising recently, and which have again made stock markets wobbly late this week. The U.S. Treasury 10-year note is presently trading around 1.462% for its yield.

The marketplace today will closely scrutinize a speech around noon EST by Fed Chairman Jerome Powell today at a jobs summit. Traders are hoping Powell will talk about rising government bond yields and inflation prospects.

Traders are also awaiting Friday morning's Employment Situation Report for February from the U.S. Labor Department—arguably the most important U.S. data point of the month. The key non-farm payrolls number is seen up 210,000 in February.

The key "outside markets" today see Nymex crude oil futures prices weaker and trading around $61.00 a barrel. An OPEC meeting began Thursday that the marketplace will closely monitor. It could be that with oil prices above $60 a barrel that the cartel opens up its oil spigots some more, after curbing production in recent months to prop up prices. Early reports say Saudi Arabia and Russia are discussing a joint output increase of 1 million barrels a day. Meantime, the U.S. dollar index is firmer early today.

U.S. economic data due for release Thursday includes the weekly jobless claims report, the Challenger job-cuts report, revised productivity and costs, manufacturers' shipments and inventories, and monthly chain store sales.

Live 24 hours gold chart [Kitco Inc.]

Technically, the April gold futures bears have the solid overall near-term technical advantage amid a two-month-old price downtrend in place on the daily chart. Bulls' next upside price objective is to produce a close in April futures above solid resistance at this week's high of $1,757.40. Bears' next near-term downside price objective is pushing futures prices below solid technical support at $1,650.00. First resistance is seen at the overnight high of $1,721.60 and then at Wednesday's high of $1,739.10. First support is seen at $1,700.00 and then at $1,680.00. Wyckoff's Market Rating: 2.0

Live 24 hours silver chart [ Kitco Inc. ]

May silver futures bulls and bears are on a level overall near-term technical playing field as the bulls have faded this week. Silver bulls' next upside price objective is closing prices above solid technical resistance at last week's high of $28.47 an ounce. The next downside price objective for the bears is closing prices below solid support at $25.00. First resistance is seen at the overnight high of $26.36 and then at $27.00. Next support is seen at the overnight low of $25.66 and then at $25.50. Wyckoff's Market Rating: 5.0.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are those of the author and may not reflect those of Kitco Metals Inc. The author has made every effort to ensure accuracy of information provided; however, neither Kitco Metals Inc. nor the author can guarantee such accuracy. This article is strictly for informational purposes only. It is not a solicitation to make any exchange in commodities, securities or other financial instruments. Kitco Metals Inc. and the author of this article do not accept culpability for losses and/ or damages arising from the use of this publication.