Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Gold Pokes Above $1,200, Then Chokes

After being barely fazed by the ADP data report showing stronger job growth than expected, gold entered into a staggered rally that took it up above $1,200. The actual break came at about 8:50 AM ET, but it stuck until a pullback more than an hour later. The peak of the rally made for a new daily high of $1,204.20. The metal sunk to below $1,200 again on the heels of an ISM report saying the U.S. service sector in July expanded slightly but more than was expected. Again, the good news proved to be bad news for gold; the resultant pullback was a little more than a momentary interruption. Another rally, starting at 10:20, peaked at less than the first one but well above $1,200; a later pullback, though, left gold a little lower than that level. As of 11:58, the spot price was $1,198.90 for a gain of $13.30 on the day. The Kitco Gold Index attributed +$18.30 to predominant buying and -$5.00 to a strenthening greenback.

The U.S. Dollar Index did strengthen in mid-morning due to that ISM report after drawing a little strength from the ADP one. It got started just before 10:00, but got on a roll afterwards; the rally didn't stop until the Index brushed against 81.1. 81 didn't hold, but the Index descended to a level not far below; as of 11:59, it was at 80.97.

The rally in the greenback did dampen gold's increase, as the metal's high of the day was made before the Index's run. Given the resistance met at $1,200, gold closing above that level isn't very likely. Still, the gain has been fairly impressive. There might be another test of $1,200 in the rest of the pit session.

Update: There was, but the test led to a downturn that took the metal below $1,195. Starting around 1:00 PM ET, it descended from right around $1,200 all the way down to $1,194. No news accompanied that breakdown, which seems to be the result of the earlier greenback rally. As of the end of the pit session, or 1:30 PM, the spot price was $1,193.70 for a gain of $8.10 on the day. The Kitco Gold Index assigned +$14.80's worth of change to predominant buying and -$6.70's worth to greenback strength.

The U.S. Dollar Index, after hovering around 80.95, managed to climb back above 81 just after 1:00. Although not making it to 81.1, it came close. As of 1:35, the Index was at 81.03.

The spill in the last half hour of the pit session put an end to any hope for gold closing above $1,200. Still, a gain of the day seems assured and there's still an outside change of the metal closing with a double-digit gain.

Update 2: That outside chance was made, thanks to a rebound near the end of the day, but just barely. The rebound that did so was the second in today's electronic-trading hitch. The first kicked in right after the pit session ended, pulling the metal up to $1,196-97; it snuck above that zone as the rise continued. Came 3:15 PM ET, and the rise turned into a decline that took gold down to $1,193 by 4:00. The second rise ended with a last-minute kicker that put the closing figure at $1,195.60, for a gain of exactly $10.00 on the day. The Kitco Gold Index attributed +$15.30 to the predominant-buying category and -$5.30 to the strengthening-greenback one. Those two categories sum up to the raw change on the day.

The U.S. Dollar Index, after hovering around 81.1, slid down for more than an hour after 2 PM. Getting below 80.9, it stayed around that level before regaining most of the loss; despite that rebound, it failed to make 81 again. As of 5:30, the Index was at 80.935.

Its daily chart, from, shows the first up day in six:

Unlike the previous up day, this one wasn't that insubstantial. Today's close was at the same level as yesterday's open, so today's action reversed yesterday's. The Index's RSI level, found on the top of its chart, is still in sub-30 oversold position but less so than yesterday. As it turned out, touching the 200-day moving average yesterday did act as a kind of support (at least for now.)

It's been quite the downward slide, so some kind of rebound was inevitable. The last upturn only lasted a day; the one before last, four. That earlier one, starting July 19th, was good for a point and a half between bottom and top. I can't say how long this one will last, only that the low RSI level indicates the Index is due.

As for gold, its own rise today made for the sixth gain day in a row:

Its poke above $1,200 shows in the top of today's candlestick. Gold's own RSI level is slightly above neutral, a level that's associated with short-term tops ever since the beginning of July. Even if the metal pulls back from here, its current run has been large enough in extent to make for a head in an inverse head and shoulders reversal. With a neckline around $1,205, the pattern indicates a durable rise into the 1200s if completed. So, even if gold sinks back into the 1180s, the technical position isn't that bad anymore.

Moreover, the MACD lines at the bottom of the chart have shifted to a bullish configuration for the first time since June. This switchover does not guarantee the rally will continue tomorrow, but it does indicate that gold's doldrums have come to an end.

A post-pit Wall Street Journal report says an increase in mainland Chinese demand, plus speculation that the Fed will undertake more quantitative easing, pushed gold up today.
Gold was supported Wednesday by speculation that the Federal Reserve may lower interest rates or buy bonds to try to boost the economy, said Tom Pawlicki, precious-metals analyst with MF Global in Chicago. Even symbolic action by the Fed could send a signal that officials believe the economy is at risk of deflation or a renewed slowdown, enhancing the appeal of gold as an alternative asset....

Futures also received continued support Wednesday from the news that China would take steps to expand its domestic gold market. The People's Bank of China Tuesday announced that the government would permit more banks to export and import gold. Analysts say the easing of restrictions shouldn't immediately lead to an increase in gold investment, but it represents an expansion that could make China a larger player in the international gold market.

"I think the Chinese news is a longer-term underlying theme," said Adam Klopfenstein, senior market strategist with Chicago-based Lind-Waldock. "If they're going to get more aggressive in letting people buy and sell more gold, it's a precursor to more moves from the central bank" in the gold market.

The metal may pull back (further) tomorrow, but the extent of the rise so far has put it in a good position for the coming month. Another gain might as well be a bonus.


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