Kitco News -- Comex gold futures prices ended modestly higher Monday, on safe-haven buying interest due to heightened market uncertainty in the wake of the earthquake in Japan and its potential worldwide economic reverberations. The weaker U.S. dollar index also supported buying interest in gold. Comex April gold last traded up $4.10 an ounce at $1,425.90. Spot gold last traded up $6.30 at $1,426.50.

The Japan earthquake and the major damage to Japan’s economy, not to mention the danger of a nuclear meltdown, have rattled markets worldwide. The Bank of Japan’s massive injection of liquidity into its financial markets has also raised the inflation bar even higher, and has called into question the worldwide economic recovery that was taking place. Japan is the world’s third-largest economy. This shock to the world market place and heightened inflationary fears have prompted fresh safe-haven buying interest in precious metals markets.

Crude oil prices traded lower again Monday and are hovering around $100.00 a barrel. Crude prices have backed off the early-March highs, which is a bearish underlying factor for the gold market. Last Friday’s "day of rage" in Saudi Arabia did not produce major demonstrations by the public. Still, the Middle East is a major market factor and traders will closely watch the price of crude oil as a gauge of the present tensions in the Middle East.

The U.S. dollar index is traded lower Monday as the Euro currency was supported by some European moves over the weekend to shore up its ailing sovereign debt situation. Dollar index bears have the solid overall technical advantage, which continues to be an underlying overall bullish factor for the precious metals markets. Once again, the greenback has received very little safe-haven demand amid the keener market place uncertainty, at present.

The London P.M. gold fix was $1,422.25 versus the previous P.M. fixing of $1,411.50.

Technically, April gold futures prices closed near mid-range Monday. The gold market bulls have the solid overall technical advantage. A six-week-old price uptrend on the daily bar chart was re-established Monday. Bulls' next near-term upside technical objective is to produce a close above solid technical resistance at last week's all-time high of $1,445.70. Bears' next near-term downside price breakout objective is closing prices below solid technical support at $1,400.00. First resistance is seen at Monday’s high of $1,433.50 and then at $1,445.70. First support is seen at Monday's low of $1,418.20 and then at $1,410.00. Wyckoff's Market Rating: 8.0.

May silver futures closed down 4.0 cents at $35.895 an ounce Monday. Prices closed near mid-range and saw mild profit-taking pressure. The silver bulls have the strong overall near-term technical advantage. There are still no early technical clues to suggest a market top is close at hand. Prices are in a steep six-week-old uptrend on the daily bar chart. The next downside price breakout objective for the bears is closing prices below solid technical support at last week’s low of $34.05. Bulls' next upside price objective is producing a close above solid technical resistance at last week's high of $36.745 an ounce. First resistance is seen at $36.00 and then at Monday’s high of $36.505. Next support is seen at Monday’s low of $35.50 and then at $35.00. Wyckoff's Market Rating: 8.5.

May N.Y. copper closed down 185 points at 418.90 cents Monday. Prices closed near mid-range. Prices Friday hit a nearly three-month low. Serious near-term chart serious chart damage has occurred in copper recently. Prices are in a four-week-old downtrend on the daily bar chart. Bulls' next upside breakout objective is pushing and closing prices above solid technical resistance at 437.90 cents. The next downside price breakout objective for the bears is closing prices below solid technical support at last week’s low of 408.60 cents. First resistance is seen at Monday’s high of 422.75 cents and then at 425.00. First support is seen at 415.00 cents and then at Monday's low of 414.00 cents. Wyckoff's Market Rating: 4.0.

By Jim Wyckoff of Kitco News; jwyckoff@kitco.com

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