The U.S. stock indexes closed firmer today. U.S. economic data for released Thursday was a mixed bag. The weekly jobless claims report came in better than expected, while the third quarter gross domestic product report came in a bit weaker than expected. The weekly jobless claims data was deemed fresher news than the GDP data and that helped to lift the stock indexes. In more “Fed speak” this week, Richmond Federal Reserve Bank president Jeffrey Lacker said Thursday he supported a faster tapering of the Fed's monthly bond buying program and said he is surprised the process has not already begun.
Fed governor Jeremy Stein also said Thursday the FOMC's decision not to taper last week was “a close call.” Notions are growing the Fed could indeed begin to “taper” yet this year. Meantime, the European Central Bank's executive board member said Thursday the ECB needs to continue its expansive monetary policies. The U.S. budget and debt ceiling issues have moved to the front burner of the market place. The U.S. government will have to at least partially shut down early next week if Congress does not pass a budget by that time.
Also, in mid October the U.S. will hit its borrowing limit. This matter could be significantly bearish for most markets in the near term, as there is talk some of the U.S. government will shut down for a short time next week.
November Nymex crude oil closed up $0.28 at $102.95 today. Prices closed nearer the session high today in quieter trading. Crude oil bulls still have the slight overall near term technical advantage but are fading.
November natural gas closed up 3.5 cents at $3.581 today. Prices closed near the session high on short covering after hitting a fresh five week low early on today. The natural gas bears have the overall near term technical advantage.
The December U.S. dollar index closed up 0.212 at 80.655 today. Prices closed nearer the session high on short covering. The bears still have the near term technical advantage.
December gold futures closed down $11.80 an ounce at $1,324.40. Prices closed nearer the session low today. A firmer U.S. dollar index today helped to pressure gold. A four week old downtrend is in place on the daily bar chart. The gold market bears have the overall near term technical advantage.
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