Compiled 07/28/11 6:00 AM (CT) Statistics: London Gold Fix $1,617.50 -$3.50 LME Copper Stocks 468,350 tons -1,450 tons GOLD MARKET FUNDAMENTALS: (6:00 AM CST) The gold market has mostly retained a large portion of its gains over the last month into what could be a major price decision directly ahead. Somewhat surprisingly the gold market has been able to discount negative currency market action of the past 24 hours, as the trade has kept its attention focused on the ebb and flow of the potential for a US credit rating downgrade. The trade expects a vote today on a plan put forth by the Speaker of the House, but the Democrats don't think the bill has the votes to pass the Senate. A portion of the gold trade thinks that Congress will push the debate into the weekend, as a way to garner the most theater as possible from the event and that would make the gold bulls very happy. News that a sub committee was investigating whether or not the US Treasury exerted undue pressure on the S&P rating agency might be another element providing the bull camp fodder on their positions. While the scheduled data yesterday was expected to be a sideshow, it did seem as if the data undermined the US currency, which in turn provided gold with some temporary lift. So far, news of possible strikes at gold mining facilities in South Africa also seems to be a sideshow story. It was also noted yesterday that gold seemed to fall in the face of speculation that a US deal was coming together. Not to understate the situation, but the gold market has clearly become dependant on the "no deal" outcome. Comex Gold Stocks were 11.432 million ounces down 322 ounces. Stocks have declined 11 of the last 20 days. Comex Gold stocks are at the lowest in the past 10 readings. OUTSIDE MARKET DEVELOPMENTS: (6:00 AM CST) While equity markets in Asia and Europe were generally weaker during the overnight session, early indications are that US equity markets will open slightly stronger later on this morning. The US Dollar is weaker against most of the major currencies this morning. China confirmed that they will continue to diversify their foreign exchange reserves, most of which are held in Dollar-denominated assets. Japanese Retail Sales during June were up 1.1% year-on-year, higher than expectations. German Unemployment during July was 7.0%, in-line with forecasts. Euro zone Economic Sentiment during July was 103.2, lower than projections. Major US economic numbers to be released this morning will include Weekly Jobless Claims at 7:30 AM and a private survey of US Pending Home Sales at 9:00 AM. There will also be results of the Treasury's 7-Year Note auction announced at 12:00 PM. In addition, Fed Regional President Lacker will give a speech during the session.