Gold futures prices finished pit trade lower Thursday, on consolidation action. The Key outside markets were in a Bearish mode for the precious metals, as the USD index was firmer and Crude Oil prices were lower.

The overall market is quiet as traders and investors await a speech by US Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke Friday morning.

Dec Gold last traded off 4.50 at 1,658.50 oz.

Spot Gold was last quoted unchanged at 1,657.00 oz.

Dec Comex Silver last traded down 0.457 at 30.465 oz.

The world place awaits Bernanke's Friday morning remarks at the annual Fed confab in Jackson Hole, WY.

Savvy market watchers see the odds are about 50/50 that the Fed will announce a fresh monetary stimulus package at Jackson Hole, or at the FOMC meeting in September.

Next week's monthly European Central Bank meeting 6 September will also be an important central bank event.

Odds are higher that the ECB will announce a fresh stimulus package at next week's meeting. New stimulus packages for either the US or EU economies would be at least initially commodity market Bullish, including the precious metals.

In overnight news: China Premiere Wen Jiabo said his country will continue to buy European debt, which gave some support to the Euro currency. An Italian bond auction fetched lower yields than last month, which hints there is some growing optimism the EU debt crisis is at least stabilizing. There was new, dour economic data coming out of leading EU country Germany overnight, as unemployment claims rose and business confidence declined to a 1.5-yr low.

The USD index was firmer Thursday, on Short covering. The "Greenback" Bears still have the slight near-term technical advantage as a five-week-old downtrend line is in place on the daily bar chart.

Crude Oil prices were lower Thursday. Crude Oil Bulls have the near-term technical advantage.

WTI Crude Oil 94.46 (-1.03) -1.08%

The precious metals markets will continue to look closely at how these 2 Key outside markets trade on a daily.

The London PM Gold fixing is 1,660.50 vs the previous PM fixing at 1,660.00.

Paul A. Ebeling, Jnr.

Paul A. Ebeling, Jnr. writes and publishes The Red Roadmaster's Technical Report on the US Major Market Indices, a weekly, highly-regarded financial market letter, read by opinion makers, business leaders and organizations around the world.

Paul A. Ebeling, Jnr has studied the global financial and stock markets since 1984, following a successful business career that included investment banking, and market and business analysis. He is a specialist in equities/commodities, and an accomplished chart reader who advises technicians with regard to Major Indices Resistance/Support Levels.