A short fire-fight between North and South Korea overnight
briefly sent gold futures sharply higher but prices for the yellow
metal are stablizing as the conflict appears to be contained and
the U.S. dollar picked up strength against other currencies.
Gold had been sliding since the end of Monday's floor session,
hitting a low of $1358 an ounce around midnight before jumping
nearly $12 as initial reports of the skirmish on the Korean
peninsula broke. The rise stalled, however, with front-end
contracts soon easing to around $1364 and establishing a new floor
around $1362 an ounce this morning. Silver and platinum are lower.
Copper also is down.
Mining stocks are largely lower in early Tuesday pre-trade,
although gold producer RandGold Resources Ltd. (
) is up 0.06 to $97.55, following the price of bullion. Diversified
miners such as Rio Tinto (
), the world's third largest mining company, and sector leader BHP
Billiton Ltd. (
) both down about 2.5% this morning.
Energy futures are edging lower, with NYMEX crude oil giving up
about 0.50 to reach 81.22 a barrel in recent trade. Oil is now down
about 8% from its recent peak nearly and two weeks ago and market
watchers were saying that crude prices are being influenced by
concerns that debt problems in the Euro-Zone will slow economic
growth, limiting demand, with perceptions of ample supplies in the
U.S. also keeping a lid on prices.
Brent crude for January delivery was down about 0.63 from
Monday's settlement to $83.44 a barrel this morning on the
London-based ICE Futures Europe exchange. NYMEX natural gas is
lower. Ethanol contracts have yet to move from Monday's $2.08 a
Agriculture futures are mixed this morning, with corn and
soybeans up while wheat is down.