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(Kitco News) -Comex gold futures prices ended the U.S. day session sharply higher Thursday and established another all-time record high of $1,829.70 an ounce. It was "risk off" in the market place Thursday as the world stock markets sold off due to heightened European Union debt concerns and some fresh, weak U.S. economic data. That prompted fresh, strong safe-haven demand for gold. December gold last traded up $29.60 at $1,823.40 an ounce. Spot gold last traded up $31.50 an ounce at $1,821.00. December Comex silver last traded up $0.382 at $40.76 an ounce.
                 
The European Union debt crisis heated up again Thursday and remains a major bullish fundamental factor for gold. European financial stocks sold off sharply overnight and that spilled over into selling pressure in stock markets worldwide. The EU debt saga drags on with no end in sight.

Some more dour U.S. economic data released Thursday morning--namely a very weak Philadelphia Fed business survey--added to the selling pressure in the U.S. stock market and to the buying pressure in gold.

The market place continues to look to the U.S. stock market and its daily movements. The daily price moves in the U.S. stock indexes continue to be the gauge for measuring investor risk appetite in the market place. And Thursday, investors pulled in their horns and sought perceived safer assets.

The U.S. dollar index traded solidly higher Thursday on short covering in a bear market and some safe-haven buying, too.

Crude oil prices traded sharply lower Thursday on the EU debt woes, the fresh, weak U.S. economic data and the slumping U.S. stock market. Still, recent price action hints the crude oil market has put in a near-term bottom. Look for choppy and sideways trading in crude oil in the coming weeks--unless the market place really comes unglued, and then crude would plummet. The crude oil market will continue to be a major "outside market" force for the precious metals.

In an interview on CNBC Wednesday, widely followed newsletter writer Dennis Gartman said gold is not a safe-haven investment asset because its price is too volatile on a daily basis. Although I respect Gartman's work, he's off base on that matter. A market's or asset's perceived safe-have status has nothing to do with its daily price volatility. It's a sound notion that the vast majority of investment demand for gold is based upon the idea that gold is a safer store of value during very uncertain economic times and amid gyrating currency, stock and financial markets.

The London P.M. gold fixing was $1,824.00 versus the previous P.M. fixing of $1,790.00.

Technically, December gold futures prices closed nearer the session high Thursday. Gold bulls have the strong overall near-term and longer-term technical advantage. There are no early technical clues to suggest a market top is close at hand. Prices are in a 6.5-month-old uptrend on the daily bar chart and in a 10-year-old uptrend on the monthly chart. Bulls' next near-term upside technical objective is to produce a close above solid technical resistance at $1,850.00. Bears' next near-term downside price objective is closing prices below solid technical support at $1,750.00. First resistance is seen at Thursday's all-time high of $1,829.70 and then at $1,840.00. First support is seen at $1,800.00 and then at Thursday's low of $1,786.80. Wyckoff's Market Rating: 10.0.

December silver futures prices closed nearer the session high Thursday and scored another fresh two-week high. Silver was supported on spillover buying from the gold market, but gains were limited by fully bearish "outside markets" that included sharply lower crude oil prices and a sharply higher U.S. dollar index. Bulls this week have gained fresh upside near-term technical momentum. The silver bulls have the overall technical advantage. Bulls' next upside price objective is producing a close above solid technical resistance at the August high of $42.31 an ounce. The next downside price breakout objective for the bears is closing prices below solid technical support at the August low of $37.055. First resistance is seen at Thursday's high of $40.98 and then at $41.50. Next support is seen at $40.50 and then at $40.00. Wyckoff's Market Rating: 6.5.

December N.Y. copper closed down 750 points 397.80 cents Thursday. Prices closed near the session low. The key "outside markets" were in a fully bearish posture for copper Thursday, as the U.S. dollar index was sharply higher, and crude oil and U.S. stock index prices were sharply lower. Serious near-term technical damage has been inflicted in copper recently. A big bearish pennant pattern has formed on the daily bar chart. Copper bulls' next upside breakout objective is pushing and closing prices above solid technical resistance at 410.00 cents. The next downside price breakout objective for the bears is closing prices below solid technical support at the August low of 384.20 cents. First resistance is seen at 400.00 cents and then at 402.50 cents. First support is seen at Thursday's low of 396.80 cents and then at 395.00 cents. Wyckoff's Market Rating: 3.0.

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By Jim Wyckoff, contributing to Kitco News; jwyckoff@kitco.com

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