Gold & Silver Daily
 

¤ Yesterday In Gold & Silver

The gold price didn't do a whole heck of a lot in either Far East or early London trading on their Wednesday.  But shortly before 1 p.m. BST in London, the price spiked sharply higher, only to run into a seller of last resort about 15 minutes later.  After making it up to the $1,295 spot price mark during morning trading in New York, the price got sold off five bucks by 2 p.m. EDT---and after that the price traded flat into the electronic close at 5:15 p.m.

The CME Group recorded the low and high ticks as $1,278.90 and $1,294.90 in the June contract.

The gold price ended the trading day at $1,209.90 spot, up $10.10 from Tuesday's close. Volume, net of April and May, was 130,000 contracts.

The silver price traded within about a dime of its Wednesday close for all of Far East and London trading, but blasted higher at the same time as gold---about 12:45 p.m. in London.  That rally got cut off at the knees by a not-for-profit seller about five minutes before the Comex opened---and by the Comex open the price was back in the box---and JPMorgan et al even managed to close the price back below the $20 spot mark by the end of the day as well.

The low and high price ticks were recorded by the CME Group as $19.73 and $20.145 in the May contract.

Silver closed yesterday in New York at $19.975 spot, which was up 21.5 cents from Wednesday's close.  One can only imagine what the closing price would have been if "da boyz" hadn't stepped in.  Net volume was 32,000 contracts.

Platinum made a rally attempt early in Far East trading, but that got turned back around 9:30 a.m. Hong Kong time.  After that it didn't do much until it began to rally just before noon in London.  It wasn't much of a rally---and it ran out of gas shortly before the Comex close.  After that it traded sideways.

Palladium traded pretty much ruler flat until London opened.  From there it developed a positive price bias, which turned into a decent rally around 11 a.m. BST.  That happy state of affairs lasted until the Comex open---and at that time it suffered the same fate as gold and silver prices did.

The dollar index closed late on Tuesday afternoon in New York at 80.08---and as I mentioned in The Wrap section of yesterday's column, it barely got saved from falling below the 80.00 mark [for the third time in 24 hours] just a few minutes before the 8 a.m. BST London open.  A rally with a little more substance to it began at precisely 8 a.m. EDT---and the high tick of the day was in shortly before noon in New York.  After that, the dollar gave back a handful of basis points before trading flat for the remainder of the Wednesday session.  The index closed at 80.22---up 14 basis points on the day.

The gold stocks gapped up 2% at the open---and after that they didn't do much.  The HUI closed up 2.78%

The silver equities turned in a similar chart pattern, but by the end of the day, Nick Laird's Intraday Silver Sentiment Index closed up only 1.57%.

The CME's Daily Delivery Report for Day 4 of the April delivery month showed that 716 gold and 60 silver contracts were posted for delivery within the Comex-approved depository on Friday.  The biggest short/issuer in gold was Barclays with 522 contracts---and in distant second was Credit Suisse with 84 contracts.  It should come as no surprised that the two biggest long/stoppers were Canada's Scotiabank with 369 contract---and JPMorgan with 168 contracts in its in-house [proprietary] trading account, along with an additional 69 in its client account.

In silver, the only issuer was F.C. Stone---and Canada's Bank of Nova Scotia stopped 59 of the 60 contracts.  The link to yesterday's Issuers and Stoppers Report is here.

There were no reported changes in GLD---and as of 9:33 p.m. EDT yesterday evening, there were no reported changes in SLV, either.  But when I was editing today's column at 3:29 a.m. EDT, I note that there had been a changes in SLV, as an authorized participant withdrew a smallish 145,922 troy ounces.  This may have been a fee payment of some kind.

The U.S. Mint didn't have a sales report yesterday.  However, they did have an April Fool's joke up their sleeve which I didn't notice on Tuesday---but Ted Butler was more than happy to point it out to me when I spoke to him on the phone yesterday.

I said in my Tuesday column that the mint did not have a sales report for the last day of March, which was Monday---so I made the assumption that they were done for the month and that the total silver eagles sales for March were as I reported on Saturday---and that was 4,476,000.  That proved to incorrect by a mile---almost 20%.

When the mint reported April 1 sales of 293,000 silver eagles on Tuesday, I dutifully reported it in my column yesterday---but what I missed was the fact that they also added 878,000 silver eagles sales to March at the same time.  So March sales for silver eagles are now up to 5,354,000---and not the 4,476,000 that I reported on Saturday.  Year-to-date silver eagles sales as of the end of March now total 13,879,000---and not the 13,001,000 ounces that I, along with all the news media, were tricked into reporting.

Very little that's silver related gets past Ted---and here's what he had to say about March silver eagles sales in his commentary to paying subscribers in his mid-week column yesterday afternoon:  "This is the highest total of Silver Eagles sold in any “regular” month in the 27 year history of the American Eagle Bullion Program. There have been three Januarys where more Silver Eagles were sold than were sold this March, but those Januarys always “borrowed” sales from December as the Mint retooled for coins with the new yearly date. The 5.3 million coins sold this past month indicate a daily production run rate or blank availability never achieved before by the Mint of more than 170,000 coins per day."

And the question that still remains unanswered is---who the &%$@ is buying all these things?  As both Ted Butler and I have said, it ain't John Q. Public.  But whoever it is, not only has the deepest pockets in the world, but pretty much knows that the days of $20 silver are numbered---and it's only a matter of what 3-digit price tag this metal will have when the smoke clears.

There wasn't a huge amount of activity over at the Comex-approved depositories in either gold or silver on Tuesday.   In gold there were precisely 2 metric tonnes of gold deposited in Scotiabank's vault---and two kilobars were removed.  The link to that activity is here.  In silver, nothing was reported received---and only 79,047 troy ounces were shipped out.  The link to that activity, such as it was, is here.

Here are the intraday price charts for both gold and silver for March, courtesy of Nick Laird.  They're computed by adding the 2-minute price tick data for every day of the month---and averaging out each 2-minute time period for the entire month.  What the chart shows is the daily primary price trend once all the day-to-day noise is averaged out.

In gold it showed that the average high of the day came at 12:30 p.m. Hong Kong time, with the usual take-down around the Comex open, then the rally into the London p.m. gold fix---and the price pressure starts anew, with the low coming very late in the electronic trading market.   The average loss in gold per business day was about $2.70.

The Intraday silver chart for March is almost a duplicate of the gold chart---and requires no further embellishment from me, except for the fact that silver lost, on average, a bit over 8 cents every business day during March.

For the second day in a row I don't have that many stories---and I'll leave the final edit up to you.

 

¤ Critical Reads

Pressure rises on Gross as investors pull $3.1 billion from Pimco's flagship fund

Investors pulled another $3.1 billion from Pimco's flagship fund in March, the 11th straight month of outflows from the world's largest bond fund, and its performance on the month lagged 95 percent of its peers due to a spate of wrong calls by long-time manager Bill Gross.

The latest statistics for the Pimco Total Return Fund, released Tuesday by Morningstar, increase the risk that more money could flee the fund managed by Gross, whose shop has been rattled by a management shakeup and disappointing performance. So far this year, it has generated a total return of 1.29 percent, lagging its performance benchmark by 0.55 percentage point and trailing the returns of 85 percent of its peers.

In all, investors have pulled $52.1 billion out of the fund since last May, according to Morningstar data. The latest outflows from the fund reduced the portfolio's assets to $232 billion.

This Reuters story, filed from New York, was posted on their Internet site on Tuesday evening EDT---and today's first new item is courtesy of Elliot Simon.  That article is worth skimming.

Read more...

JPMorgan says goodby to Blythe Masters

A week ago we wrote: 'While it has been public for a long time that i) JPM is eager to sell its physical commodities business and ii) the most likely buyer was little known Swiss-based Mercuria, there was nothing definitive released by JPM. Until moments ago, when Jamie Dimon formally announced that JPM is officially parting ways with the physical commodities business. But while contrary to previous expectations, following the sale JPM will still provide commercial gold vaulting operations around the world, it almost certainly means farewell to Blythe Masters"---and sure enough.

Farewell Blythe: we hope your replacement will be just as skilled in keeping the price of physical gold affordable for those of us who keep BTFD every single day.

She won't be missed, at least not by me.  This commentary showed up on the Zero Hedge website during the New York lunch hour yesterday---and it's courtesy of Washington state reader S.A.

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Eurozone ministers agree to pay Greece €8.3bn

Eurozone finance ministers agreed to pay out €8.3 billion of Greece's bailout package on Tuesday (1 April), bringing to a close a protracted battle between the Athens government and its creditors over the latest round of austerity reforms.

As a result of the agreement, approved at a meeting in Athens as part of Greece's six month EU presidency, Greece will receive a first tranche of €6.3 billion at the end of April that will allow it to meet debt repayments totalling €9.3 billion in May.

Two further payments to Greece, each of €1 billion will then be made in June and July.

The deal comes more than six months after Troika officials first began their review in September. But the review mission, the fourth of the Greek programme, hit an impasse after the Troika failed to strike a deal with the Greek government on the next round of labour market reforms and spending cuts.

As I've said on many occasions, any country in the Eurozone will be bailed out with whatever amount of money it takes---even the Ukraine when its turn comes.  This article, filed from Brussels, was posted on the euobserver.com Internet site yesterday morning Europe time---and it's the first offering of the day from Roy Stephens.

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Turkey’s constitutional court: Twitter ban violates free speech

The Twitter ban imposed by Turkey’s government violates freedom of expression and individual rights, said the country’s Constitutional Court after a unanimous vote on Wednesday. The ban caused mass protests and public uproar.

The Court unanimously ruled the embargo is a violation of free speech guaranteed by Article 26 of the Constitution. According to the Hurriyet Daily, an order to lift the ban has been issued.

"If they don't abide by the ruling, we will file a criminal complaint against the [country’s telecom authority] TIB by attaching the ruling of the Constitutional Court," said Metin Feyzioğlu, the president of Turkey's Bar Associations, as cited by Hurriyet.

The decision is to be delivered to TIB and Turkey's Transport, Maritime and Communication Ministry with the demand that they comply with the order.

This news item showed up on the Russia Today website yesterday afternoon Moscow time---and it's the second offering in a row from Roy Stephens.

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Furious Russia Will Retaliate Over "Illegal And Absurd" Payment Block By "Hostile" JPMorgan

While everyone was gushing over the spectacle on TV of a pro-HFT guy and anti-HFT guy go at it, yesterday afternoon we reported what was by far the most important news of the day, one which was lost on virtually everyone if only until this morning, when we reported that "Monetary Blockade of Russia Begins: JPMorgan Blocks Russian Money Transfer "Under Pretext" of Sanctions."

This morning the story has finally blown up to front page status, which it deserves, where it currently graces the FT with "Russian threat to retaliate over JPMorgan block." And unlike previous responses to Russian sanctions by the West, which were largely taken as a joke by the Russian establishment, this time Russia is furious: according to Bloomberg, the Russian foreign ministry described the JPM decision as "illegal and absurd."  And as Ukraine found out last month, you don't want Russia angry.

I posted the Russia Today version of this story in my column long before this Zero Hedge piece put in an appearance on their Internet site early yesterday morning EDT, but it does appear to contain some new information since the RT piece was filed early Tuesday evening in Moscow, so it may be worth reading.  I thank reader M.A. for sending this our way.

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Gazprom uses gas to tighten noose on Ukraine

Russia’s Gazprom has begun to tighten the noose on Ukraine, raising the cost of gas deliveries by 44pc and threatening to claw back billions of dollars of previous discounts.

The move came as military tensions between NATO and Russia continued to escalate on several fronts, belying claims that the world's most serious geo-political clash since the Cold War is subsiding.

NATO chief Anders Fogh Rasmussen denied claims by Moscow that Russia is withdrawing its 40,000 troops concentrated near the Ukrainian border. "This is not what we have seen. This massive military build-up can in no way contribute to a de-escalation of the situation, so I continue to urge Russia to pull back its troops," he said.

This story about Ukraine's gas bill really isn't new news, but Ambrose Evans-Pritchard keeps the war tension levels on a rolling boil in this commentary posted on the telegraph.co.uk Internet site early Tuesday evening---and it's the third offering of the day from Roy Stephens, for which I thank him.

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NATO Commander Says He Sees Potent Threat From Russia

NATO’s top commander said on Wednesday that the 40,000 troops Russia has within striking distance of Ukraine are poised to attack on 12 hours’ notice and could accomplish their military objectives within three to five days.

President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia told Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany on Monday that the Kremlin was beginning to withdraw troops from the border area near Ukraine.

But the NATO commander, Gen. Philip M. Breedlove, said in an interview with The New York Times that so far only a single battalion, a force of 400 to 500 troops, was on the move and that NATO intelligence could not say whether it was actually being withdrawn.

“What we can say now is that we do see a battalion-size unit moving, but what we can’t confirm is that it is leaving the battlefield,” said General Breedlove, of the United States Air Force. “Whether that movement is aft to a less belligerent configuration or returning to barracks, we do not see that.”

This propaganda piece showed up on The New York Times website yesterday sometime---and it's courtesy of Casey Research's own Nick Giambruno.

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Tour of Ukraine-Russia Border Finds No Signs of Military Buildup: NBC

All is not quiet on the Western Front, but the drumbeat of war along the long Ukraine-Russian border is nowhere near as loud as it sounds in Moscow.

According to dire warnings from U.S. military and intelligence officials, Russian President Vladimir Putin, fresh from his daring annexation of Ukraine’s strategic Crimean Peninsula, has concentrated tens of thousands of his forces on the border with Ukraine. Camouflaged and concealed to throw off U.S. spy satellites, the warnings say, the heavily armed combat troops and special operations forces are coiled and ready to spring across the border into restive regions of Eastern and Southern Ukraine such as Kharkov and Donetsk, where pro-Russian populations are eager to be annexed by Russia, just like Crimea.

Top Russian officials – including Putin himself – have denied any such troop concentrations near the Western border. One minor Ministry of Defense official, who didn’t want to be named because he wasn’t authorized to comment, told NBC News that there had been training exercises – war games – in the border region but, once ended, those troops and armor returned to their bases. “All of this international hype is completely unfounded,” he told us earlier in the week.

It's nice to see some real investigative journalism from the mainstream press for a change.  This absolute must read news item was posted on the nbcnews.com Internet site late Sunday morning EDT---and it's courtesy of reader William Gebhardt.

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What About The Dollar: Russia, Iran Announce $20 Billion Oil-For-Goods Deal

If you said the complete absence of US Dollars anywhere in the funds flow you are correct. Which is precisely what we have been warning would happen the more the West and/or JPMorgan pushed Russia into a USD-free corner.

Once again, from our yesterday comment on the JPM Russian blockade: "what JPM may have just done is launch a preemptive strike which would have the equivalent culmination of a SWIFT blockade of Russia, the same way Iran was neutralized from the Petrodollar and was promptly forced to begin transacting in Rubles, Yuan and, of course, gold in exchange for goods and services either imported or exported. One wonders: is JPM truly that intent in preserving its "pristine" reputation of not transacting with "evil Russians", that it will gladly light the fuse that takes away Russia's choice whether or not to depart the petrodollar voluntarily, and makes it a compulsory outcome, which incidentally will merely accelerate the formalization of the Eurasian axis of China, Russia and India?"

In other words, Russia seems perfectly happy to telegraph that it is just as willing to use barter (and "heaven forbid" gold) and shortly other "regional" currencies, as it is to use the US Dollar, hardly the intended outcome of the western blockade, which appears to have just backfired and further impacted the untouchable status of the Petrodollar.

This Zero Hedge story from yesterday afternoon EDT is definitely worth reading---and it's courtesy of U.A.E. reader Laurent-Patrick Gally.

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King Abdullah Kicks Obama Out of Saudia Arabia?

You’d think American foreign policy couldn’t sink any lower than standing by while Vladimir Putin re-conquers the Warsaw Pact nations. Then you’ve underestimated Barack Obama’s incompetence.

Apparently, Obama didn’t bow low enough to King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia. Whatever happened, an “intimate” evening planned for Obama and Abdullah was abruptly cancelled after a two-hour meeting between the two leaders. A meeting intended to “mend fences” between the two men.

The White House is now denying there was  dinner scheduled. They’ve scrubbed all references from the White House web site, they’ve demanded return of printed copies of the schedule (and the state media complied). They’ve even deleted a State Department tweet about the dinner. Before the MSM finishes scrubbing their sites, I grabbed a few screens. Here’s what Washington Post said this morning---

It’s highly unusual for a U.S. President to be effectively kicked out of a country–especially an allied country. Coming on the heels of Obama’s feckless deterrent in Eastern Europe, Iran’s flouting of the toothless agreement we signed in the fall, and Obama’s collapsing support at home, the world now witnesses a weird scenario in which Saudia Arabia and Israel become the only “Western” countries capable of bare-knuckle diplomacy with the world’s land-grabbers.

Although I totally disagree with his comments regarding Russia's future plans for Poland, or any other country for that matter, the first part of this very interesting story is definitely worth your time.  This news item showed up on the hennessysview.com Internet site last Friday---and I thank reader Rex Jones for digging it up for us.

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Afghan H-bomb: Record opium harvest, billions burn in 'war on drugs'

Finding a solution to the thriving heroin production in Afghanistan has been on the back burner ever since the Americans occupied the country. The new Afghan president who will be elected next weekend will have to battle record opium harvests.

Since the US came down on the Taliban and occupied Afghanistan in 2001, heroin production in the country has surged almost 40-fold. One year ago the estimated number of heroin addicts dying due to Afghan heroin in the preceding decade surpassed well over one million deaths worldwide.

Last year, Afghanistan harvested a record quantity of opium. The annual report of the International Narcotics Control Board maintains that Afghan poppy fields now occupy a record 209,000 hectares, a 36 percent increase from 2013.

Today more than half of the provinces in Afghanistan are growing opium poppies. Reports say Afghanistan is responsible for production of around 80 percent of the world's opium and heroin.

I was going to save this for Saturday, but decided to post it in today's column.  This very interesting essay, complete with a lot of photos plus a video clip, was posted on the Russia Today website late yesterday morning Moscow time---and it's the final contribution of the day from Roy Stephens.

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Four King World News Blogs

1. Investors Intelligence: "Here is a Fascinating Chart Big Money is Looking at Right Now"  2. Louis Yamada: "3 Incredibly Important Gold, Silver and Mining Charts"  3. John Hathaway: "This Will Cause an Historic Short Squeeze in Gold"  4. Rick Rule: "One of the Greatest Opportunities in Decades"

[Please direct any questions or comments about what is said in these interviews by either Eric King or his guests, to them, and not to me. Thank you. - Ed]

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Bullion market eyes e-platform to revamp London gold benchmark

As regulators investigate the transparency of global financial benchmarks, bullion banks are contemplating a move to electronic platforms that would shed more light on the London gold fix, a widely used reference price, sources said.

A growing number of technology providers are competing to offer a more transparent way of disseminating information that shows how the price of the $20 billion-a-day trade is settled.

The move was prompted by growing regulatory scrutiny after the London Interbank Offered Rate rigging scandal exposed widespread interest-rate manipulation in 2013.

"Could the regulators say, 'We'll let this (the daily gold settlement) carry on but only with massive transparency brought to it?' The answer is yes, because we know the technology is being developed to do that," a senior banking source said.

This Reuters story, filed from London on Monday, was something I found posted in a GATA release yesterday.

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Don’t Keep Your Gold and Silver in the U.S., Says Marc Faber

Gloom Boom & Doom Report publisher Marc Faber discusses the fragile state of the US and global financial systems… how rising inflation will affect the average American… how soon the bubble will burst… and why gold and silver will triumph.

“I don’t think that anything is very cheap, but if I have to compare different asset prices, say real estate, stocks, bonds, commodities, gold, art, and so forth—and old cars—then I think that gold and silver [are] relatively inexpensive because they have had big corrections already, and you should not forget that the global bond market now is over $100 trillion.”

This 16:42 minute audio interview with the good doctor was posted on the Casey Research website yesterday---and is definitely worth your time.

Read more...

 

¤ The Funnies









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¤ The Wrap

The only continuing concern for lower prices is the market structure on the COMEX and what JPMorgan intends following its recent heavy selling in COMEX gold and silver. This Friday’s Commitments of Traders and Bank Participation Reports should show a reduction in the commercials’ total net short position with the only real question being how much more to go, in terms of lower prices and further commercial buying? Only one entity has the answer to that question. - Silver analyst Ted Butler: 02 April 2014

It was another day where the short sellers of last resort had to ride to the rescue to prevent gold, silver and palladium prices from blasting skyward once again.  Some day JPMorgan et al won't be there when prices rally like that---but I haven't the foggiest idea of when that day will come.  However, it can't come soon enough to suit me---or you either, I would imagine.

Here are the 6-month charts for both gold and silver showing yesterday's price action.  Are we in a bottoming pattern here?  Based on the numbers both Ted and I expect in Friday's COT Report, the answer is no---but as I've been saying all week, I'm surprised that "da boyz" haven't pushed their advantage to the downside.  It's impossible to tell where we go from here, but I'm cheering for up.

But if the reaction to yesterday's blast off in prices is any indication of what will happen during the next price rally, then JPMorgan et al will be piling in on the short side in silver---and selling more long contracts in gold---to cap this rally as well.  I certainly don't want that to happen, but that's the way it has been for 15 years now---and only the willfully blind won't acknowledge it, even though they can clearly see it.

Here's a chart courtesy of Nick Laird over at sharelynx.com.  It's the intraday price chart for gold for the last 30 days---and Nick's embedded comment was as follows "One could surmise here that the bottom is in for gold---and judging by the reaction in the price, it looks like the traders think so as well."

We'll see.

Jim Rickards latest tome "The Death of Money: The Coming Collapse of the International Monetary System" hits the bookstores within the next week.  I've already read an advanced copy---and to say it is a must read is an understatement.  Most of the "juice" about gold shows up in Chapters 9 and 10---but I didn't make the mistake of reading those chapters first, as the chapters that precede them, built the logical case for gold step by step.

I'll quote the last two paragraphs on page 267 to give you an idea of the flavour of it---and where Jim's head is at.

"Financial avalanches are goaded by greed, but greed is not a complete explanation. Banker's parasitic behavior, the result of a cultural phase transition, is entirely characteristic of a society nearing collapse.  Wealth is no longer created: it is taken from others.  Parasitic behavior is not confined to bankers; it also infects high government officials, corporate executives, and the elite societal stratum."

"The key to wealth preservation is to understand the complex processes and to seek shelter from the cascade.  Investors are not helpless in the face of elite decadence."

If you're interested---and you should be---the link to ordering it is here.

And as I type this paragraph at 3 a.m. EDT, London has just opened.  Nothing happened in Far East trading on their Thursday---and all four precious metals are up a bit from Wednesday's close.  Volumes are vanishingly small in both silver and gold---and the dollar index is basically unchanged.

As I've mentioned on numerous occasions over the years---and several times during the last week or so, it would seem the most natural thing in the world for Russia [and maybe China] to pull the plug on the Anglo/American precious metal price management scheme, as they've both known about it for over a decade.  If push really becomes shove in other areas, they just might---and that would give JPMorgan and the BIS et al the perfect out, as the real reason would never come to light.  Then the whole world would know that it was "those pesky Russians" that brought this whole thing down on our heads---and no one would be the wiser.

But will it happen?  Beats me, but as I've suggested to Ted over the years, this whole thing might end under the cover of some economic, financial, monetary, or maybe even military event---so that all eyes will be elsewhere.  Opportunities of this magnitude don't grow on trees---and it will be interesting to see if it ends in this manner or not.

And as I send this off to Stowe, Vermont at 5:10 a.m. EDT, I see that the smallish rallies going into the London open all got sold down to below their closing prices in New York on Wednesday---and only palladium is still up on the day.  Volumes have really picked up in both gold and silver---and most of it is of the HFT variety, as there's very little activity except in the current front months of both metals.  The dollar index is still flat.

That's all I have for today---and after yesterday's price action, nothing will surprise me when I power up my computer later this morning.

Enjoy your day---and I'll see you here tomorrow.