Talking Points: Crude oil rally capped after disappointing US consumer confidence data Quiet economic calendar, US holiday cloud fundamental direction cues Gold prices are testing a critical resistance technical zone near $1256 /oz Crude oil failed to hold above the psychologically significant US$95 level on Friday following a disappointing US consumer confidence reading from the University of Michigan . The move mirrored a wider deterioration in risk appetite, with the benchmark S&P 500 stock index issuing its weakest close in four days. The result likewise encouraged gold prices higher, which may have reflected traders pondering the possibility that a softer US recovery may derail the Fed's "tapering" of QE asset purchases, boosting anti-fiat demand. Looking ahead, a light European economic calendar seems to offer little in terms of formative event risk. Furthermore, US financial markets are closed for the Martin Luther King Jr. Day holiday, meaning trading volumes are likely to be thinner than normal in the hours ahead. That casts a cloud of uncertainty over near-term fundamental cues and may prove to yield a period of quiet consolidation. It is prudent to keep in mind however that diminished liquidity can serve to amplify seesaw volatility if unexpected headline risk is to emerge. The DailyFX Speculative Sentiment Index is providing a mixed bias on gold based on trader positioning . CRUDE OIL TECHNICAL ANALYSIS -Oil is showing signs of potential weakness, with prices showing a Shooting Star candlestick below the 38.2% Fib retracement level at 94.85. A close below what looks like shaky support at the 94.00 figure would open up the monthly low of 91.41. GOLD TECHNICAL ANALYSIS - Some selling pressure may emerge around resistance at 1256.00 as gold trades closer to the descending trend line from the Jan 2013 high. However, prices remain above the 20 SMA and are putting in a series of higher highs and higher lows, indicating the short-term uptrend remains intact. A concrete break above 1256.00 would help solidify a bullish bias for the yellow metal. SILVER TECHNICAL ANALYSIS -Silver gains may be capped once again by sellers sitting near the 38.2% Fibonacci retracement level at 20.48. If buyers can manage to push prices above the resistance zone that has held since late November, it would open up the US$21.00 handle. COPPER TECHNICAL ANALYSIS- Copper continues to oscillate near US$3.35 , with technical cues offering a mixed bias. While a momentum shift on the rate of change indicator is warning of some weakness ahead, a Piercing Line candlestick formation is hinting at some upside potential.
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