Compiled 01/04/12 6:00 AM (CT) Statistics: London Gold Fix $1,603.00 +$13.00 LME Copper Stocks 369,150 tons -2,425 GOLD MARKET FUNDAMENTALS: (6:00 AM CST) The gold market has managed to claw out a higher high in the overnight trade, but the market was mostly unable to hold that initial probe upward on the charts. Some traders think that a return to levels above $1,600 is a technical victory for the bull camp, while others think the gold market needs to consolidate above $1,600 to firm up the bull's case. Some traders are suggesting that new Indian government regulation, with respect to mandatory hallmarking of gold jewelry, is ultimately positive to gold prices, as that action might provide Indian buyers with added confidence. However, Indian demand trends are likely to drift to a background mode quickly in the wake of the US factory orders report today, especially with concerns toward the Euro zone debt problem mostly remaining off boil. While some traders are suggesting that gold has drafted some fresh buying interest recently off renewed Middle East tensions, the focus of the gold seems to remain tied to classic physical commodity market fundamentals and that could leave gold prices tethered to the US equity markets. At least to start today, currency market action might be a little restrictive of gold, but the Factory Orders release is likely to set the tone for most of today's trade. Comex Gold Stocks were 11.462 million ounces up 108,432 ounces. Comex Gold Stocks are at the highest levels in a year. Comex Gold Stocks are at the highest levels since 09/09/2011. Comex Gold Stocks are at the lowest levels since 12/29/2011. OUTSIDE MARKET DEVELOPMENTS: (6:00 AM CST) Equity markets in Asia were stronger overnight, with Indian stocks finishing marginally weaker. European stocks managed to post some positive action, while US equity markets were mostly mixed to start the new trading session. The US Dollar has started higher against the euro but was weaker against the Canadian, Swiss and Yen. Overnight the market saw generally favorable Euro zone December services PMI readings and Euro zone inflation readings that were down from the prior month, but still holding at elevated levels. In other overnight developments, there were some slightly positive auction results from Germany and Portugal and in the absence of other more important headlines, that news was seen as a sign that the Euro zone debt crisis remains under control. In looking ahead, the markets will see a series of private US chain store sales figures, weekly mortgage application readings and a Factory orders report. Also due out later this session, is light US vehicle sales but the main reading of the day is expected to be the US Factory orders report. Expectations for the Factory orders report call for a modest improvement and for many that bodes well for the bull camp in precious metals.