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Gold Prices Fall Through $1,400/Oz As Market Breaks Technical Chart Support
By Debbie Carlson of Kitco News
Wednesday May 15, 2013 11:35 AM
(Kitco News) - Gold prices fell through the psychologically important $1,400-an-ounce level during mid-morning North American trade on Wednesday, triggering some pre-placed sell orders.

At 11:22 a.m. EDT, Comex June gold futures were at $1,393.30 an ounce, down $31.20, and hit their lowest level since April 19.

Prices were under pressure for the entire session and were creeping lower when values slipped through the psychological support level of $1,400. This triggered pre-placed sell orders, known as sell stops, advancing weakness a bit further, market watchers said.

Analysts said there wasn’t anything in particular that sparked Wednesday’s losses, but it was just a continuation of the weakness that has plagued gold lately: a firmer U.S. dollar index and a lack of interest to buy commodities. Crude oil was also weaker, as were base metals.

“The market is its own worst enemy. It is lacking positive momentum, which is keeping bulls on the sidelines. The dollar is stronger. Buyers have just evaporated,” said Sterling Smith, futures specialist, commodity research, Citibank Institutional Client Group.

The general strength in the stock market is also an issue weighing on gold, said Sean Lusk, gold and precious metals analyst at Ironbeam.

“The stock market is up what, 14%? That’s pulling people from gold,” Lusk said.

When gold prices broke through $1,400, the major stock indexes were weaker, but since then index values turned higher.

Silver and the platinum group metals were also weaker with gold. Smith said although silver is the loss leader for Wednesday, this selloff is gold-inspired. “Gold is the leader. Silver is getting kicked around like a little beat-up soccer ball,” he said.

Lusk said gold also has not reacted bullishly to news that previously would be considered bullish, particularly announcements in the past few weeks about central banks, such as the Bank of Japan, the Reserve Bank of Australia and South Korea’s central bank all either enacting some monetary stimulus or lowering interest rates.

“When a market can’t rally on bullish news, that’s a problem,” he said.

Technical price charts are also bearish for gold. Lusk said gold needed to try and get back above $1,500 last week to regain some upside momentum, but it never came close to that area.

Both Smith and Lusk said a close under $1,400 by the June gold contract opens the door to further weakness. Both put the next support level at the $1,380 to $1,385 area. Smith said after that is some support at $1,365.

However, if prices fall under there, the next floor is the major support level from mid-April, $1,321.50, which was the low after the big April sell-off, both said. If the market falls to there, how gold acts in that region will be telling. If it holds support, buying could come back in; however, Smith said, if it breaks that April low, “the world will get interesting.”

He said a break under $1,320 may lead to further losses as interested buyers may step back to see just how far prices might fall before coming back in.

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By Debbie Carlson of Kitco News