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(Kitco News) – Gold prices are slightly down and silver prices are near steady in early U.S. trading Tuesday. The safe-haven metals bulls are trying to stop the recent price downdrafts that have produced some near-term technical damage. Gold hit five-week low Monday, while silver hit a nine-week bottom. April gold futures were last up $0.60 an ounce at $1,288.20. May Comex silver was last up $0.035 at $15.14 an ounce.

Upbeat trader and investor risk appetites in recent weeks finally pulled down gold and silver prices after they had been able to hold their own and even rally in the face of the risk-on attitudes. As long as world stock markets remain in near-term price uptrends it will be difficult for gold and silver markets to sustain rallies. However, there are some very early technical clues the U.S. stock indexes might be seeing their price uptrends starting to “roll over.” Price action the rest of this week will be extra important for the U.S. stock indexes, and in turn the fortunes of gold and silver bulls.

Asian and European stock markets were mixed overnight. U.S. stock indexes are pointed toward slightly higher openings when the New York day session begins.  

In overnight news, the unofficial China purchasing managers’ index (PMI) for February came in at its lowest level since October. China also on Tuesday lowered its projected gross domestic product growth for the year. The National People’s Congress lowered its 2019 GDP growth estimate to a rate of 6.0% to 6.5%, from 6.5%. Chinese economic officials also pledged to continue to support the manufacturing sector and emerging businesses, including new deficit spending and tax cuts. The trade war with the U.S. the past year has dented the Chinese economy, which in turn has likely made Chinese leadership keen to end its trade war with the U.S. The National People’s Congress annual meeting in China is taking place this week.

Attention of the marketplace later this week will be on the European Central Bank’s regular monetary policy meeting on Thursday. The ECB is expected to loosen its purse strings and provide more low-interest financing to Euro zone banks in order to stimulate an anemic Euro zone economy.

The U.S. March jobs report from the Labor Department is due out Friday morning. That’s arguably the most important U.S. economic data point of the month. The key non-farm payrolls number is forecast to come in at up 180,000.

The key outside markets today see the U.S. dollar index firmer. The greenback bulls have regained some technical strength recently. Nymex crude oil prices are slightly up and trading just below $57.00 a barrel.

U.S. economic reports due for release Tuesday include the weekly Goldman Sachs and Johnson Redbook retail sales reports, new residential sales, the U.S. services purchasing managers’ index (PMI), the global PMI, the IDB/TIPP economic optimism index, the ISM non-manufacturing survey, and the monthly Treasury budget statement.

Live 24 hours gold chart [Kitco Inc.]

Technically, the April gold bulls and bears are on a level overall near-term technical playing field but the bears have momentum on their side. Bulls’ next upside price objective is to produce a close in April futures above solid resistance at $1,300.00. Bears’ next near-term downside price breakout objective is pushing prices below solid technical support at the January low of $1,281.50. First resistance is seen at $1,290.00 and then at $1,300.00. First support is seen at $1,281.50 and then at $1,275.00. Wyckoff’s Market Rating: 5.0

Live 24 hours silver chart [ Kitco Inc. ]

May silver futures bears have the overall near-term technical advantage amid the recent price downdraft. Silver bulls’ next upside price breakout objective is closing prices above solid technical resistance at $15.50 an ounce. The next downside price breakout objective for the bears is closing prices below solid support at $15.00. First resistance is seen at Monday’s high of $15.295 and then at $15.50. Next support is seen at $15.00 and then at $14.90. Wyckoff’s Market Rating: 4.0.