Comex gold prices ended the U.S. day session modestly higher Thursday. Some light bargain hunting interest again surfaced following selling pressure earlier this week. The key “outside markets” were also in a bullish posture for the precious metals Thursday, as the U.S. dollar index was weaker and crude oil prices were higher. December gold last traded up $4.50 at $1,769.60 an ounce. Spot gold was last quoted up $5.50 at $1,768.75. December Comex silver last traded down $0.039 at $34.07 an ounce. U.S. economic data released Thursday morning had a modest impact on the precious metals. A sharp decline in weekly U.S. jobless claims did knock the precious metals prices down from their daily highs. Gold and silver also saw no lasting reaction to news late Wednesday that the Standard & Poors ratings agency downgraded Spain’s credit rating to near junk status. The Euro currency sold off and the U.S. dollar index rallied in the immediate aftermath of that news. However, by Thursday morning the Euro had recovered its losses and the dollar index had pulled back. The S&P move was a bit surprising to the market place, but not really a significant shocker to change the overall perception of Spain’s financial condition or the overall EU debt crisis. That notion was reinforced by a fairly well-subscribed Italian government bond auction on Thursday. However, the S&P downgrade did bolster ideas Spain will seek further bailout funds from the EU sooner rather than later. In other news, reports Thursday said Indian demand for gold exchange traded funds was at a record high in September, despite weak retail sales of gold jewelry in the country. The U.S. dollar index traded weaker Thursday. The U.S. dollar bulls had gained a bit of upside technical momentum this week, but the greenback bears still have the overall near-term technical advantage. Meantime, Nymex crude oil prices are higher Thursday. Some heightened Middle East tensions supported crude, and did offset a bearish U.S. weekly DOE storage report Thursday. Crude oil bulls and bears are on a level near-term technical playing field amid choppy and volatile trading recently. These two key “outside markets” will continue to have a significant daily influence on gold and silver prices. Technically, December gold futures prices closed near mid-range again Thursday. Gold bulls have the overall near-term technical advantage. Prices are in a three-month-old uptrend on the daily bar chart. The gold bulls’ next upside price breakout objective is to produce a close above solid technical resistance at the 2012 high of $1,800.90. Bears’ next near-term downside price objective is closing prices below solid technical support at $1,738.30. First resistance is seen at Thursday’s high of $1,776.60 and then at this week’s high of $1,782.50. First support is seen at this week’s low of $1,758.50 and then at $1,753.20. December silver futures prices closed near mid-range Thursday. Silver bulls are still in overall near-term technical command, but have faded a bit and need to show some fresh power soon. Prices are still in a 2.5-month-old uptrend on the daily bar chart, but just barely. Bulls’ next upside price breakout objective is closing prices above solid technical resistance at last week’s high of $35.445 an ounce. The next downside price breakout objective for the bears is closing prices below solid technical support at $33.36. First resistance is seen at Thursday’s high of $34.38 and then at this week’s high of $34.605. Next support is seen at Thursday’s low of $33.815 and then at this week’s low of $33.57.
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