Compiled 03/04/11 6:00 AM (CT) Statistics: London Gold Fix $1418.00 -$12.50 LME Copper Stocks 425,300 tons +1,250 tons Shanghai Deliverable stocks were 157,765 tons -336 tons GOLD MARKET FUNDAMENTALS: (6:00 AM CST) With April gold prices to this morning's lows sitting roughly $23 an ounce below this week's highs, the gold market seems to have factored in a slight tempering of anxiety in the Middle East. Some players might suggest that gold has also started to factor in a slight increase in US rate hike fears, as the trade has seen evidence of an improving economics in the US statistics this week. However, to really rekindle talk that US QE2 will be ended prematurely might require clear cut evidence of an improving job market, as that has clearly been the focal point of US Fed leadership. The gold bulls probably need to see a number this morning that is strong enough to discourage fears of a struggling US economy, but the bulls probably want to avoid a number that is hot enough to foster realistic talk of higher US interest rates. However, the gold markets attention might be divided today, as Libyan rebel forces are reportedly pushing toward Tripoli and also toward a key Libyan oil port and that could leave a measure of geopolitical uncertainty in place off the Middle East situation. However, gold has factored in portion of the prospect of Peace, or at least a Gaddafi exodus and with the rebels seemingly operating without much restriction it is possible that gold traders will continue to lean toward extracting flight to quality premium ahead of the weekend. To shift the bias on Libya into the bull camp today, probably requires news of a setback of rebel efforts. Comex Gold Stocks were unchanged at 11.147 million ounces. Gold stocks have declined 12 of the last 20 days. OUTSIDE MARKET DEVELOPMENTS: (6:00 AM CST) While equity markets in Asia and Europe were stronger during overnight trading, early indications are for the US stock market to open today's session with moderate gains this morning. The Dollar is close to unchanged levels against most of the major currencies during overnight trading, but is posting gains against the Yen and the Pound. Rebels in Libya have stipulated that negotiations can only take place if Muammar Gaddafi resigns or goes into exile. China announced that they will increase their defense budget by over 12% this year. The President of the Bundesbank told a group of central bankers that global economic imbalances could worsen faster than expected due to the surge in crude oil prices. A private survey of UK Housing Prices during February was down 0.9%, weaker than expected. Major US economic numbers to be released this morning include the February Unemployment Rate, February Non-Farm Payrolls, February Private Payrolls, February Average Hourly Earnings and February Average Workweek at 7:30 AM, and January Factory Orders at 9:00 AM. In addition, Fed Vice Chairman Yellen will a give speech during the session.