Compiled 04/18/12 6:00 AM (CT) Statistics: London Gold Fix $1,646.50 -$5.50 LME Copper Stocks 261,150 tons +75 tons GOLD MARKET FUNDAMENTALS: (6:00 AM CST) A pattern of lower highs has remained in place in the gold market and with gold prices showing initial negative divergence with the rest of the metals complex in the early going today, that has to give the bear camp some added confidence. While there were some stories touting easing by the Chinese central bank overnight, credible easing evidence from the FOMC or the PBOC would seem to be mere speculation at the current time. While gold seemed to recover yesterday in the wake of the impressive recovery effort in US equities, it could take a series of noted gains in equities to countervail numbers from the US this week that generally depicted a slowing of momentum in the US recovery. Some gold players are looking ahead to the Spanish debt auction Thursday with some trepidation, as the fear of a resumption of European debt issues remains a gold market factor. While gold hasn't paid that much attention to physical supply side news lately, it is possible that news of a sharp rise in quarterly gold production at a Mexican miner has fostered some of the initial weakness in gold prices this morning. Unfortunately the US economic report slate today doesn't look to produce much in the way of guidance today and therefore gold and other physical commodity markets might have to take some direction from equities and currencies. Frustrated bulls continue to hold out hope of easing evidence but unfortunately that might require an ongoing pattern of slack and soft US data. Comex Gold Stocks were 10.994 million ounces up 899 ounces. Stocks have declined 12 of the last 20 days. OUTSIDE MARKET DEVELOPMENTS: (6:00 AM CST) Asian equity markets were stronger overnight, with Chinese investors relieved with the lack of disconcerting news flow from Europe. The Asian trade might also have seen some lift off US earnings news and there also seemed to be some ongoing hopes of easing from the PBOC. European markets were weaker to start today on what appeared to be a classic profit taking setback. Early in the US trade today share prices were mixed, with the markets somewhat disappointed by tech sector earnings news yesterday afternoon. The US economic report slate today is rather thin, with a weekly mortgage application survey released early in the trade and little else on the docket. There will be a series of comments from the US Treasury Secretary and World Bank officials today.