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(Kitco News) - Comex February gold futures prices ended the U.S. day session lower on follow-through selling pressure from Wednesday’s sharp losses that did rattle traders and investors. February gold last traded down $12.00 at $1,574.90 an ounce. Spot gold last traded down $4.00 an ounce at $1,573.00. March Comex silver last traded up $0.165 at $29.10 an ounce.

Gold market traders and investors are wondering what’s next after the yellow metal traded down nearly $100.00 an ounce at one point Wednesday and after serious near-term technical damage has been inflicted recently. Many gold traders and investors are unnerved by such volatile daily price action. While nobody really knows what the future holds, the overall longer-term technical posture in gold has not changed recently. Gold prices have been trending higher for 10 years on the longer-term charts. And in that 10-year-old uptrend in prices there have been several significant downside “corrections” within that uptrend that have amounted to up to hundreds of dollars of downside price action--before the gold market recovered and went on to post new highs.

There is some fear in the gold market at present—significantly more fear than normal. This, by itself, is one early sign that a market bottom may be close at hand for gold. Remember the old Warren Buffet saying: He likes to be fearful when other traders are greedy, and he likes to be greedy when other traders are fearful.

There were no major, fresh developments on the European Union debt crisis scene Thursday. A Spanish bond auction was well received Thursday, and that was a bit of a calming effect on the market place. The Euro currency has fallen to a fresh 11-month low this week amid the EU debt crisis.

The U.S. dollar index traded slightly lower Thursday on some profit taking after hitting an 11-month high Wednesday. The dollar index bulls have the solid overall near-term technical advantage, which is a major bearish underlying factor for the precious metals markets. Crude oil prices traded weaker Thursday, which was negative for the precious metals. Crude oil was also pounded lower Wednesday, which spooked the entire commodity sector, including the precious metals.

The London P.M. gold fixing was $1,574.00 versus the previous P.M. fixing of $1,603.00.

Technically, February gold futures prices closed near mid-range Thursday and hit another fresh nearly three-month low. Much of the selling pressure in gold this week has been weak long liquidation. Gold prices did fall below their 200-day moving average Wednesday for the first time since 2009. Serious near-term chart damage has been inflicted. Prices are in an accelerating four-week-old downtrend on the daily bar chart. Bulls' next upside technical breakout objective is to produce a close above solid technical resistance at $1,650.00. Bears' next near-term downside price objective is closing prices below major technical support at the September low of $1,543.30. First resistance is seen at $1,600.00 and then at $1,625.50. First support is seen at Thursday’s low of $1,562.50 and then at $1,550.00. Wyckoff's Market Rating: 3.5.

March silver futures prices closed nearer the session high Thursday but did hit a fresh 2.5-month low early on. Short covering in a bear market was featured. Serious near-term technical damage was inflicted Wednesday. Silver prices have been trending lower in a choppy fashion for six weeks. Bulls’ next upside price breakout objective is closing prices above solid technical resistance at $31.00 an ounce. The next downside price breakout objective for the bears is closing prices below major technical support at the September low of $26.185. First resistance is seen at $29.50 and then at $30.00. Next support is seen at $29.00 and then at Thursday’s low of $28.12 and then at $28.00. Wyckoff's Market Rating: 3.5.

March N.Y. copper closed up 30 points 328.15 cents Thursday. Prices closed near mid-range and hit another fresh three-week low. Copper bears have the overall near-term technical advantage and have gained downside momentum this week. Copper bulls' next upside breakout objective is pushing and closing prices above solid technical resistance at 350.00 cents. The next downside price breakout objective for the bears is closing prices below major psychological support at 300.00 cents. First resistance is seen at 330.00 cents and then at Thursday’s high of 333.00 cents. First support is seen at Thursday’s low of 323.25 cents and then at the November low of 321.85 cents. Wyckoff's Market Rating: 3.5.

Follow me on Twitter! If you want daily, or nightly, up-to-the-second market analysis on gold and silver price action, then follow me on Twitter. It's free, too. My account is @jimwyckoff .

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

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