Asian stocks were weaker overnight, and that action was seen well in advance of a discouraging economic survey from Germany that applied fresh pressure to European equities. European equities did fall off the weaker than expected German ZEW readings released this morning, but the markets in Europe were already a bit soft because of rising borrowing costs for various EU trouble spot countries. Somewhat surprising was the fact that US stocks were holding in positive ground into the German ZEW results and that they showed very little reaction to the weak data. Apparently the US markets are beginning to look forward to the FOMC meeting results on Wednesday afternoon, which many think will bring on an extension of the operation twist program. Therefore we expect the markets to take a long look at US housing starts and permits data, which are expected to come in minimally higher. For some, that might temper the prospect of definitive US Fed action on Wednesday.

After some rather stellar gains last week, the platinum market appears to be forging some corrective action on its charts. Some might suggest that a reduction of price forecasts from an analyst at a large French bank combined with slack German ZEW data weighed on platinum prices overnight. Another item that might be undermining platinum is news that the South African Department of Mines sees the need to protect its platinum industry because of slumping demand and relatively low prices. Apparently the prospect of a reduction in platinum mining activity in South Africa has stirred a government response, and while idled mines could eventually support platinum prices, the near term influence might be seen as a confirmation of slumping demand.