MEIR ON METALS: Calmer conditions and lack of major news contribute to steadier tone

Dec 16, 2011 | 09:00 AM |

Analyst Ed Meir looks at what is moving the metals markets on Friday. Copper and general commentary: Metals finished flat on the day on Thursday, with copper closing almost unchanged, as investors were presumably left drained after Wednesday’s sharp sell-off. The rest of the metals finished uneventfully as well, and there were similarly restrained performances in energy, the euro, and the US stock market. One commodity that continues to fare poorly is gold, which was down again on Thursday and is still reeling after being the commodity darling for much of 2011. Some technicians are now calling for downside targets of $1,000-1,200 per oz given the chart damage, but most analysts, such as prominent investor Dennis Gartman, who turned bearish on the precious metal last week, have targets of between $1,400 and $1,500. The US macro numbers out on Thursday surprised to the upside, although some came in shy of estimates. Especially noteworthy, was the sharp drop in weekly initial claims readings, which have now dropped this past week to 366,000, well below the 390,000 expected and is now running at a three-and-a-half-year low. In addition, a New York factory survey showed activity picking up this past month, with the index rising to 9.5, well above the 3.0 reading expected. On the negative side, US industrial output declined in November for the first time in seven months, as production eased by a greater-than-expected 0.2% following a 0.7% gain in....

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