Compiled 02/23/11 6:00 AM (CT) Statistics: London Gold Fix $1385.50 +$8.50 LME Copper Stocks 411,750 tons -50 SILVER MARKET FUNDAMENTALS: (6:00 AM CT) March silver is trading both sides of unchanged this morning but well off of yesterday's highs, as the market is consolidating the gains it made yesterday on the back of the unrest in Libya and other parts of the Middle East and North Africa (MENA). The rally took March silver to $34.33, its highest level since the 1980s, as the precious metals found safe-haven support due to uncertainty from the unrest. The fact that Libya is the first major oil producer to succumb to the unrest was considered to be significant, but other traders view Bahrain, which is not a major oil producer but is close to Saudi Arabia, as a more dire concern. Regardless, the fact that unrest seems to be spreading appears to be keeping the safe-haven support alive. Silver does not appear to be suffering from its role as an industrial metal. This in sharp contrast to platinum, which has fallen off sharply on concerns over reduced demand. Comex Silver Stocks totaled 102.358 million ounces, down 16,370. They are at their lowest levels since August 11, 2006. OUTSIDE MARKET DEVELOPMENTS: (6:00 AM CT) While equity markets in Asia were mixed during overnight trading, stock indices in Europe are generally weaker this morning. Early indications are for the US stock market to open with moderate gains. The Dollar was moderately weaker against most of the major currencies during overnight trading, although it posted small gains against the Yen and the Swiss Franc. Muammar Gaddafi called on his supporters to rise up and crush a developing revolt in Libya. The release of the meeting minutes from the last Bank of England monetary policy meeting saw more support for a hike in UK interest rates. The Japanese trade deficit during January was 471 billion Yen, much larger than projected. Euro zone Industrial New Orders during December were up 2.1%, higher than expected. French CPI during January was up 1.9% year-on-year, lower than forecasts. Major US economic numbers this morning include a private survey of US Existing Home Sales released at 9:00 AM, a private survey of US mortgage applications released before the opening, and several private surveys of store sales released during the session. The results of the second leg of the Treasury's monthly refunding, the 5-year note auction, will be announced at 12:00 PM. In addition, Fed Regional Presidents Plosser and Hoenig will give speeches during the session.