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(Kitco News) -Comex gold and silver futures markets closed a choppy trading session lower Thursday. However, prices ended up from their session lows as the U.S. dollar index sold off late and crude oil prices rebounded from their earlier lows. Profit taking by shorter-term traders, from recent gains, was featured Thursday. Silver still posted strong losses on the day. Risk aversion is in the market place following a spate of weak U.S. economic data recently, and ahead of Friday morning's key monthly U.S. jobs report. August gold last traded down $7.40 an ounce at $1,535.80. Spot gold last traded down $4.30 an ounce at $1,535.25. July Comex silver last traded down $1.509 at $36.185 an ounce.

Wednesday's much-weaker-than-expected U.S. monthly ADP jobs report spooked the market place and came amid other U.S. economic data that has also been weaker than expected. The risk aversion that has re-entered the market place recently had been bullish for gold and bearish for other commodity markets, including silver. Now, Friday's monthly U.S. jobs report becomes even more important for the markets, on a near-term basis. Forecasters have been ratcheting down their expectations for the key non-farm payrolls growth number in the jobs report. The non-farm jobs number now centers around a figure of up 150,000 in May. Look for a more active trading day on Friday, in the wake of the jobs report.

The U.S. dollar index is traded lower again Thursday and hit another fresh three-week low. The dollar index extended daily losses in late trading Thursday on reports that an agreement had been reached regarding Greece's debt and an assistance package from the IMF and European Union. However, as of this writing the details were sketchy. The U.S. dollar index bulls have faded and bears have downside near-term technical momentum. The dollar index is in a posture where it could head back down and retest the recent 2.5-year low in the near term. The greenback has not been a beneficiary of the recent risk aversion and safe-haven moves by investors.

Crude oil prices were trading firmer late in trading Thursday, after being under selling pressure earlier, in the wake of a bearish weekly U.S. crude oil storage report. Today's price action in crude oil futures underscores how closely precious metals market traders are following crude oil. Crude oil bulls still have the overall near-term technical advantage, but trading has again turned choppy. The recent weak U.S. economic data is bearish for crude. And crude oil has been and will continue to be a leader in the raw commodity market sector.

The London P.M. gold fixing $1,539.50 versus the previous P.M. fixing of $1,533.75.

Technically, August Comex gold futures closed near mid-range Thursday. No chart damage occurred. Gold bulls still have the solid overall near-term and longer-term technical advantage. Bulls' next near-term upside technical objective is to produce a close above solid technical resistance at the all-time high of $1,577.70. Bears' next near-term downside price objective is closing prices below solid technical support at $1,515.60. First resistance is seen at Thursday's high of $1,545.50 and then at this week's high of $1,551.60. First support is seen at Thursday's low of $1,520.40 and then at $1,515.60. Wyckoff's Market Rating: 7.0.

July Comex silver futures closed near mid-range Thursday and saw profit-taking and long liquidation pressure. Silver bulls still have the slight overall near-term technical advantage, but have faded and need to show fresh power soon. The next downside price breakout objective for the bears is closing prices below solid technical support at $34.00. Bulls' next upside price objective is producing a close above solid technical resistance at last week's high of $38.84 an ounce. First resistance is seen at $37.00 and then at Thursday's high of $37.41. Next support is seen at $36.00 and then at Thursday's low of $35.545. Wyckoff's Market Rating: 5.5.

July N.Y. copper closed down 155 points at 409.10 cents Thursday. Prices closed near mid-range and were pressured by profit taking and weaker crude oil prices. A late sell off in the U.S. dollar index did limit the downside in copper today. Copper bulls still have the slight overall near-term technical advantage, but have faded and need to show fresh power soon. Copper bulls' next upside breakout objective is pushing and closing prices above solid technical resistance at the May high of 426.70 cents. The next downside price breakout objective for the bears is closing prices below major psychological support at 400.00 cents. First resistance is seen at Thursday's high of 412.35 cents and then at 415.00 cents. First support is seen at 407.50 cents and then at 405.00 cents. Wyckoff's Market Rating: 5.5.

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

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