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Thursday, February 13, 2014
PRECIOUS-Gold hits 3-month highs on technical momentum
~By Clara Denina
LONDON, Feb 12 - Gold hit three-month highs on Wednesday as positive technical factors outweighed a rise in investor appetite for other, riskier assets following comments by the new U.S. Federal Reserve chief about the economic outlook.
Spot gold, initially low, rebounded to a fresh three-month high of $1,295.20 an ounce. It was up 0.2 percent to $1,293.55 by 1523 GMT. It closed up 1.3 percent in the previous session.
U.S. gold futures for February delivery were up at $1,290.10 an ounce.
"At the moment, it seems that there is some technical momentum, and you can see prices tasting levels around $1,300, where the 200-day moving average is," Credit Suisse analyst Karim Cherif said.
"But if you look at what investors have been doing, it is to use any rebound in the gold market to reduce exposure," he added.
"We expect prices to moderate again as there is no real reason for investors to hold gold ... the dollar will strengthen, yields will move moderately higher, and assets like equities should continue to do well after what the healthy correction seen earlier in the year."
In her first public appearance since becoming Fed chair, Janet Yellen said the central bank would consider more than the unemployment rate when evaluating the U.S. labour market, broadening the scope of her predecessor's forward guidance on monetary policy.
Gold usually holds an inverse relation with the direction of shares as risk appetite detracts interest from the metal, regarded as a safe haven. But at times over the past few sessions the metal has risen alongside equities.
From a technical viewpoint, a confirmed close above the $1,290/$1,300 area could signal further gains, while support is pegged at $1,278, analysts said.
In other markets, the dollar index pulled away from two-week lows, up 0.2 percent, while global shares rallied.
Gold has gained around 7 percent since the beginning of the year, propped up by concerns about emerging markets and about economic growth in China. It fell 28 percent in 2013, snapping a 12-year run of gains, as the Fed looked set to unwind its bond-buying stimulus, which had supported prices.
Investors have been cautiously moving back into the precious metal as seen in flows into SPDR Gold Trust, the world's largest gold-backed exchange-traded fund.
Holdings in the ETF rose 1.80 tonnes to 798.85 tonnes on Tuesday. The fund, which lost around 500 tonnes in 2013, has not recorded any outflows in three weeks.
Physical buying from China, the world's top bullion consumer where demand has been robust due to the Lunar New Year holiday, could ease after the recent rally in prices, analysts said.
Premiums for the 99.99 percent purity gold contract , the most active contract on the exchange, stayed steady near $7 an ounce over the London spot price.
Silver rose 0.4 percent to $20.31 an ounce.
Platinum was up 1.8 percent at $1,405.00 an ounce, while palladium gained 0.8 percent to $725.50 an ounce. (Additional reporting by A. Ananthalakshmi in Singapore; editing by Keiron Henderson and David Evans)