Copper, Oil Higher Ahead of US Home Sales Report

Commodity prices are showing mixed results in European trade but S&P 500 index futures point firmly higher, hinting risk appetite is likely to be well-supported heading into the afternoon as Wall Street comes online. Optimism seems to reflect hopeful expectations ahead of US Existing Home Sales figures, where forecasts point to the highest reading in 22 months at 4.61 million.

With the euro zone widely expected to be in recession already and worries about a slowdown in China at the forefront again after the country raised fuel prices yesterday, the US stands as the sole remaining major engine of global output expected to see a pickup in performance this year. This means US economic data has taken on added market-wide significance.

A strong print is likely to prove supportive for growth-sensitive copper and crude oil prices, although the WTI contract will also have to contend with the official DOE set of weekly inventory figures. Yesterday’s preliminary API report showed a drop in stockpiles, but investors overlooked it amid broad-based risk aversion. A similar outcome this time around may have more market-moving potential considering forecasts call for an increase.

Importantly, housing data carries a degree of added significance considering the depressed property market is at the top of the Fed’s list of concerns (along with unemployment, which has shown notable improvement lately). This suggests stronger outcomes here likely to encourage policymakers as they begin to tip-toe away from ultra-dovish territory.

As we observed last week, this new-found responsiveness of Fed policy to the apparently firming recovery has produced an environment where the heretofore rigidly safe-haven US dollar is able to rise along with share prices. This coupled with reduced QE3 expectations implicit in strengthening economic news is likely to weigh on gold and silver prices.

Comex E-Mini Copper (NY Close): $3.910 // +0.032 // +0.83%

Prices continue to consolidate below falling trend line resistance connecting major highs since early February. Initial support lines up at $3.808, the 23.6% Fibonacci retracement, with a break below that exposing the $3.696-$3.713 area anew. Trend line resistance is now at $3.913, with a break above exposing $3.988.

 

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