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June 27th 2013
Gold futures eased slightly in electronic trade Monday after closing fractionally higher the previous day, but with action muted ahead of key events in Europe and the U.S.
One kilogram gold bars on display at the Korea Gold Exchange.
Gold for August delivery GCQ3 +0.13% slipped $2.10, or 0.2%, to $1,396.40 an ounce during Asia trading hours, remaining below the $1,400 handle after briefly
breaking back through that level Wednesday.Wednesday’s regular session on the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange saw sharp midday gains,
with the August contract rising by as much as $13, as stocks sold off following weak U.S. private-employment data from ADP. But it soon pared those gains to
settle just 0.1% higher.Yet just as in the regular Comex session, caution remained the watchword on Thursday ahead of event risks in the form of a
European Central Bank policy decision later in the day, and the U.S. nonfarm payrolls report on Friday.
The euro held steady against the U.S. dollar Thursday, with investors set to hear what the president of the European Central Bank might say about efforts to
aid the beleaguered euro-zone economy. The euro EURUSD +0.1971% traded at $1.309, nearly unchanged from its late Wednesday level in North America.
The euro holds its ground ahead of a central-bank policy decision.The ECB is widely expected to hold its main lending rate at the record low 0.5%,
where it was left last month after a quarter-point cut by policy makers. But with the euro zone’s central bank expected to reduce its economic forecasts,
investors will want to know from ECB President Mario Draghi what steps — if any — it will take to try to pull the region out of recession. Draghi may signal the ECB is
now open to pushing its deposit rate into negative territory to jump-start economic activity, analysts say. The deposit rate, which currently stands at zero,
is the rate the ECB pays on reserves held at the central bank, and a negative rate could encourage more lending by banks.
Most U.K. stocks traded in positive territory on Thursday, although investors were hesitant to make any major moves ahead of the Bank of England’s interest-rate
decision later in the day. The FTSE 100 index UK:UKX -0.03% added 0.1% to 6,427.08, partly recovering from a 2.1% loss on Wednesday. The Bank of England is
widely expected to keep rates on hold at its meeting on Thursday. Shares of Johnson Matthey PLC UK:JMAT +7.15% jumped 7.7%, after the chemicals firm
raised its full-year dividend and said it is confident about the medium-to-long term. Additionally, Bank of America Merrill Lynch lifted the firm to buy from neutral.
RSA Insurance Group PLC UK:RSA +2.47% added 2% after Morgan Stanley lifted the firm to overweight from underweight. At noon London time, or 7 a.m. Eastern,
the Bank of England releases its latest monetary-policy decision. Most analysts expect the bank to keep both the interest rate and its asset-purchase program on hold.
“Improving U.K. data will undoubtedly hold off the MPC from adding more stimuli, especially before Mark Carney takes over next month.
BOE meeting is likely to be a non-event,” said Ishaq Siddiqi, market strategist at ETX Capital, in a note. The meeting marks the final rate meeting for
Governor Mervyn King before handing the baton to Mark Carney in July.
Asian markets fell Thursday after a big drop on Wall Street in the wake of a weak U.S. private-sector jobs report, reflecting caution ahead of Friday’s nonfarm payrolls data.
Japanese equities were tormented by more volatility that also affected the yen and bond yields, dragging stocks closer toward a so-called bear market.
The Nikkei Stock Average JP:NIK -0.85% shook off a weak opening to rebound earlier Thursday, but retreated again to finish the day 0.9% lower at 12,904.02, its first drop below
the 13,000-point level since April 5. The broader Topix JP:I0000 -1.77% fell 1.8%. Both benchmarks had dropped more than 3% in the previous session, after Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s blueprint for the
nation’s long-term economic recovery fell short of some expectations. The Nikkei Average, in particular, is off slightly more than 19% from the 52-week high it reached on May 23.
A drop of 20% from that high would take the 225-stock benchmark into a technical bear market. The Topix is off 17% from its own 52-week high.