Compiled 02/23/12 6:00 AM (CT) Statistics: London Gold Fix $1,776.50 +$24.50 LME Copper Stocks 304,875 tons -850 tons SILVER MARKET FUNDAMENTALS: (6:00 AM CT) The silver market has managed a fresh upside breakout this morning, as the market has continued to draft off the positive leadership of gold. However, silver is seeing some classic physical buying interest, perhaps because of the potential shift in policy at the PBOC and certainly because of declining Euro zone debt fears. Silver prices also seemed to draft positively off the hope for US tax reform, as many see that as a better road to deficit reduction than outright aggressive austerity measures. Silver might be somewhat held back this morning by weakness in copper prices, which in turn might have been put off balance by less than stellar Euro zone economic growth dialogue from an EU Minister this morning. Like gold, the silver market will probably take some direction from US scheduled data this morning, but with expectations calling for a minor rise in US initial claims, that could result in a slight setback into the 7:30 data window. With the overnight breakout March silver prices managed to reach their highest level since mid November 2011, and that in turn might have prompted some technically related buying this morning. Comex Silver Stocks were 129.232 million ounces down 49,410. Stocks have increased 11 of the last 20 days. OUTSIDE MARKET DEVELOPMENTS: (6:00 AM CT) Asian equity markets were mixed overnight, with Hong Kong lower and Shanghai managing its 5th straight higher close. European equity markets started off higher and were given an added boost by a stronger than expected German Ifo reading. Some European markets were put off balance in the wake of talk that Euro zone growth was probably going to continue to contract. The US equity markets are showing a higher early track today. The view toward the Euro zone is mostly positive, and somehow the US markets have managed to spin recent US data into a positive. However, the metals markets could be tested today by a rather active flow of US scheduled data. The main release of the day might be US Initial Claims, which are expected to post a minor rise.