NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- It was another one of those days in gold where one shouldn't read much into the price action, although each and every rally regardless of size, ran into a seller of some sort before it could get anywhere. The low and high ticks, such as they were, were recorded as $1,324.00 and $1,336.40 in the April contract. Gold closed in New York at $1,331.80 spot, which was up two bucks even from Wednesday's close. Net volume was a very decent 141,000 contracts. Silver had its obligatory sell off in morning trading in the Far East---and then rallied to its high of the day at 11 a.m. GMT in London. After that it chopped slightly lower as the rest of the Thursday trading session went along. The CME recorded the low and high price ticks at $20.985 and $21.48 in the February contract. In the new front month, which is now May, the closing prices were three or four cents higher. Silver finished the Thursday trading session at $21.26 spot, up 4.5 cents on the day. Net volume was 33,500 contracts in the May delivery month. Platinum and palladium put double bottoms in on Wednesday---once in Far East trading---and again about an hour after London opened. From there they both rallied until shortly after the London p.m. gold fix---and after that they chopped sideways into the 5:15 p.m. EST electronic close. Here are the charts. The dollar index closed on Wednesday afternoon in New York at 80.41---and then proceeded to trade ruler flat on Thursday in the Far East up until about 40 minutes before London open. The smallish rally to its 80.55 high came to an end a minute or so after 9 a.m. GMT in London---and by 12 o'clock noon in New York, had fallen down to its 80.24 low. The index didn't do much after that. The index closed at 80.26---which was down 15 basis points from Wednesday. The gold stocks opened flat, but by 10:15 a.m. EST, they had rallied about 2% to their high of the day. From there they got quietly sold down into negative territory, with the low of the day coming about 2:15 p.m. They never got above unchanged after that---and the HUI closed down 0.43%. The silver equities followed a similar path on Thursday---and they ended the in the red as well. Nick Laird's Intraday Silver Sentiment Index closed down 0.30%. The CME reported a final delivery in gold in the February contract. HSBC USA was the short/issuer on all 40 of these contracts---and Barclays stopped 29 of them. These deliveries will be made today. For first day notice in the March delivery month, there were 2 gold and 859 silver contracts posted for delivery on Monday. In silver, the three biggest short/issuers were Canada's Scotiabank with 636 contracts, Jefferies with 113---and ABN Amro with 66 contracts. There were 17 long/stoppers, but the tallest hog at the trough should come as no surprise, as it was JPMorgan with 424 in its in-house [proprietary] trading account---along with another 101 contracts in its client account. In second and third spots was FC Stone and ABN Amro with 100 and 68 contracts respectively. Yesterday's Issuers and Stoppers Report is worth looking at---and the link is here. There were no reported changes in GLD---and as of 10:17 p.m. EST yesterday evening, there were no reported changes in SLV, either. The good folks over at shortsqueeze.com updated their website with the new short positions in both GLD and SLV as of the middle of February. Since the beginning of February, the short position in SLV increased by 7.14%---and there are now 17.65 million shares/troy ounces that are sold short, which is an increase of 1.18 million shares/troy ounces since the first of the month. In GLD over the same period, the short position in that ETF increased by a smallish 3.06%, which is an increase of a bit over a tonne. GLD is showing that there are 1.29 million ounces of gold sold short within that ETF. Joshua Gibbons, the "Guru of the SLV Bar List" updated his website with the goings-on inside SLV for their reporting week---and here is what he had to say: "Analysis of the 26 February 2014 bar list, and comparison to the previous week's list---2,500,873.2 troy ounces were added (all to Brinks London); 2,123,774.1 troy ounces were removed (all from Brinks London), and no bars had a serial number change.The bars added were from: Kazakhmys (0.9M oz), Korea Zinc (0.6M oz), Solar Applied Materials (0.4M oz), and 7 others. The bars removed were from: Aurubis AG (0.9M oz), Solar Applied Materials (0.5M oz), Nordeutsche (0.3M oz), Valcambi (0.3M oz), and 2 others.As of the time that the bar list was produced, it was overallocated 256.5 oz. 1,442,724.0 oz. were added Tuesday, but not yet reflected on the bar list." The link to Joshua's website is here. Over at the Comex-approved depositories on Wednesday, they reported receiving 22,226 troy ounces of gold---and all of it was deposited in the vaults of HSBC USA. The link to that activity is here. In silver, nothing was reported received, but 411,667 troy ounces were shipped out. The link to that action is here. Here's a chart of Bitcoin's value in US$ terms since early last May. Nick Laird whipped this up for us last night. I have a decent number of stories again today---and a lot of them are related to the current situation in the Ukraine---and I've stuck them all [except one] in a single post.
¤ The Wrap
Everywhere I look, I find continuous evidence that JPMorgan dominates and controls the silver (and gold) market. The proprietor of the very informative silver website, Joshua Gibbons, sent me some information I wasn’t quite aware of, including a separate analysis that JPMorgan makes up 45% of dealings on the LBMA. This dovetails perfectly with JPM’s OTC share of 60% for gold and other precious metals derivatives among U.S. banks (in the OCC Treasury Department report). Remember, in last week’s COT report, JPMorgan accounted for 43% of all commercial silver selling on the COMEX---and 100% of all new short sales---plus 52% of all COMEX commercial gold selling. How could such market shares not equate to control and de facto price manipulation? - Silver analyst Ted Butler: 26 February 2014 It was another day where nothing much happened, or wasn't allowed to happen, in the precious metal markets. With the news surrounding the problems in Ukraine, one would have thought that there would have been more of a flight to precious metals---but if there was, it was nowhere to be seen in the price action. With the February delivery month now in the history books, I note that there are only 173 gold and 2,626 silver contracts open for delivery in March as per the preliminary report from the CME early this a.m. It's a good bet that most of these gold contracts---and a large chunk of the silver contracts---will disappear in the next few days as they are rolled over. Of the 2,626 silver contracts remaining, there were 859 posted for delivery on Monday, leaving only 1,800 or so left. It will be interesting to see how many of these contracts actually get delivered as March progresses. With Implats now declaring force majeure, it's only a matter of time before the other South African platinum/palladium producers follow suit. There aren't infinite supplies of these two metals laying around---but with '3 or less' U.S. bullion banks [read JPMorgan Chase] short just under 23% of the entire Comex futures market in both platinum and palladium---as shown in the February Bank Participation Report---there's no way that these metals will be allowed to rally meaningfully if JPMorgan et al don't want them to. Just like gold and silver, the supply/demand fundamentals of these other two precious metals mean nothing, either. By the way, nothing has changed regarding gold and silver prices. Engineered price declines could still be in the cards here, as they did it on Wednesday---and there's nothing to prevent them from picking up where they left off, if it suits them. Of course if "da boyz" put their hands in their pockets and let the precious metal markets do what they really want to do, then the short covering rallies that would erupt almost immediately, would make your eyes glaze over. But that's not likely to happen, at least not at this juncture. As I write this paragraph, London has been open about 75 minutes---and all four precious metals are currently below their Thursday closing prices in New York. Volumes in both gold and silver are already decent---and mostly of the HFT variety. The dollar index, which had been flat until 2:45 p.m. Hong Kong time, rolled over at that point and is now down 14 basis points. And as I hit the send button on today's column at 5:05 a.m. EST---nothing much has changed during the last hour, although volumes are really starting to get up their in both gold and silver. The dollar index is still down a bit. Today, at 1:30 p.m. EST, we get the latest Commitment of Traders Report---and whatever the news, I'll have it for you in my Saturday column. With today being the last trading day of the week---and the month---nothing should come as a shock from a price point of view as the trading day unfolds in New York. Enjoy your weekend, or what's left of it if you live West of the International Date Line---and I'll see you here tomorrow.