Compiled 02/28/12 6:00 AM (CT) Statistics: London Gold Fix $1,774.75 +$9.75 LME Copper Stocks 298,850 tons -1,625 tons GOLD MARKET FUNDAMENTALS: (6:00 AM CST) While April gold is attempting to claw its way back above the prior session's closing value early today, the pattern on the charts in the early action today would appear to be an extension of the lower highs and lower low pattern seen over the last few sessions. While gold saw some modest buying interest in China off hopes that the PBOC might continue to support the Chinese economy, the gold trade might also be garnering some lift from anticipation of the next LTRO effort in Europe. The gold market might also have seen some minor support from suggestions that a key Indian gold player expected to see higher gold imports in the coming year. However, some of the initial weakness overnight in gold might have been the result of a temporary suspension of Greek bonds as collateral into the ECB. With some expectations calling for a minor contraction in US durable goods and others anticipating further weakness in a private home price survey, it is also possible that gold is somewhat concerned about upcoming US data. However, US Consumer Confidence readings and positive early US equity market action might countervail the durable goods data this morning. In fact, with a positive Euro and gains across the board in the rest of the metals markets, the gold trade might have enough outside market support to weather a bit of discouraging US scheduled data. Comex Gold Stocks were 11.427 million ounces down 4,993 ounces. Stocks have declined 13 of the last 20 days. OUTSIDE MARKET DEVELOPMENTS: (6:00 AM CST) Asian equity markets were higher overnight ahead of the upcoming European LTRO and also because of gains in Chinese banking shares off ideas that the PBOC might be poised to ease further. European equity markets were getting a fresh lift off favorable Italian debt auction results, which in turn provided the trade with a fresh measure of confidence. It is also possible that favorable German and Euro zone confidence readings contributed to the mostly positive tone this morning. In looking ahead to the US trade today, the markets will be bracing for a US Durable goods report, a private home price survey and consumer confidence readings. In general, the trade seems to be embracing a modest risk-on vibe early this morning, but it could take better than expected US scheduled data to keep that sentiment in place through the US data window later on this morning. The markets will also see at least two Fed speeches today, one of which is expected to be focused on the US housing sector and that dialogue could become a noted impact on metals prices later this morning.