Statistics: London Gold Fix $1,580.00 +$.50 LME Copper Stocks 252,550 tons -1,025 tons

SILVER MARKET FUNDAMENTALS: (6:00 AM CT) At least in the near term, silver appears to be tracking the ebb and flow of US easing prospects, as silver prices yesterday morning saw a pre-report, to post report slide of roughly 19 cents an ounce. With silver prices from the post report low yesterday, eventually managing a rise of roughly 47 cents an ounce, it would appear that the silver market has gotten over the concerns, that better US data might actually delay action from the US Fed. However, with a potentially important US claims report and an existing home sales report due out later this morning, the question of easing might be set to dominate silver price action again.

With the Chairman of the US Fed recently alluding to the importance of US jobs data in the Fed's decisions, and last week's initial claims data breaking out to a fresh multi year low, that could make today's claims readings, almost as important as the monthly jobs report! Some silver bulls think that positive claims data might be enough to solidly underpin silver and other physical commodity prices but the real question will be whether or not the silver trade will be able to shift its focus from the hope of easing, to classic hopes of better growth. In other words, the silver market looks to have critical decision on its trading focus directly ahead.

Comex Silver Stocks were 143.736 million ounces down 616,180 ounces. Silver stocks have declined in 11 of the last 20 days.

OUTSIDE MARKET DEVELOPMENTS: (6:00 AM CT) China shares were stronger overnight, with Hong Kong shares managing to breakout to a fresh two week high. Apparently investors in China were cheered by favorable US housing data yesterday and also from mostly positive corporate earnings news flow from the US Wednesday. European shares were also higher to start today but rising Spanish yields in the wake of a shorter term auction overnight, did seem to dent optimism in the Euro zone. Apparently the world saw the bigger than expected jump in US housing starts yesterday as a positive development, but it is possible that increased talk and focus on the fiscal cliff ahead will serve the temper the quasi risk-on vibe in place at the start of the Thursday US trade.

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