Gold prices ended the U.S. day session modestly up, hovering at a more-than-three-month-high close Thursday. Silver prices ended near steady and hit a six-week high today. Some early profit-taking pressure was viewed as a bargain buying opportunity by the precious metals bulls. 

Thursday's U.S. ADP national employment report for December showed a rise of 250,000, which was significantly higher than the increase of 195,000 that was expected. Gold and silver prices down-ticked on the news, but quickly recovered as the bargain buyers stepped in.

Now, traders and investors are looking ahead to Friday's U.S. employment report from the Labor Department. This report is arguably the most important U.S. data point of the month. The key December non-farm payrolls number is forecast to come in at up 180,000. However, a beat to the upside on this report could dent bullish enthusiasm in the precious metals markets, on notions the Federal Reserve would be more likely to raise interest rates at a faster pace. However, it's my bias that rising U.S. interest rates are pretty much factored into the marketplace for 2018.

World stock markets were mostly firmer Thursday. There was some upbeat economic data from China released Thursday, to help boost world equity markets. U.S. stock indexes hit more new record highs today. The rallying world stock markets are a bearish element for the competing asset class of precious metals.

Tensions in Iran are still not far from the front burner of the market place. This matter is still supporting some safe-haven gold and silver markets, as well as boosting the crude oil market.

The key outside markets were in a bullish daily posture for the precious metals on Thursday. The U.S. dollar index was lower. Meantime, Nymex crude oil prices were higher and hit a three-year high above $62.00 a barrel.

Live 24 hours gold chart [Kitco Inc.]

Technically, February gold futures prices closed nearer the session high. The bulls have the overall near-term technical advantage, amid a three-week-old uptrend being in place on the daily bar chart. Gold bulls' next upside near-term price breakout objective is to produce a close above solid technical resistance at $1,350.00. Bears' next near-term downside price breakout objective is pushing prices below solid technical support at $1,280.00. First resistance is seen at this week's high of $1,323.00 and then at $1,230.00. First support is seen at $1,310.00 and then at this week's low of $1,304.60.

Live 24 hours silver chart [ Kitco Inc. ]

March silver futures prices closed nearer the session high and hit a six-week high today. The bulls have the overall near-term technical advantage. Prices are in a steep three-week-old uptrend on the daily bar chart. Silver bulls' next upside price breakout objective is closing prices above solid technical resistance at $18.00 an ounce. The next downside price breakout objective for the bears is closing prices below solid support at the October low of $16.435. First resistance is seen at $17.37 and then at $17.50. Next support is seen at this week's low of $16.985 and then at $16.75. 

March N.Y. copper closed up 40 points at 326.15 cents today. Prices closed nearer the session low today. The copper bulls have the solid overall near-term technical advantage. Copper bulls' next upside price objective is pushing and closing prices above solid technical resistance at 340.00 cents. The next downside price objective for the bears is closing prices below solid technical support at 310.00 cents. First resistance is seen at today's high of 329.80 cents and then at the contract high of 332.20 cents. First support is seen at this week's low of 323.65 cents and then at 320.00 cents. 

Reporting by Jim Wyckoff of Kitco.com.

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This commentary comes from an independent investor or market observer as part of TheStreet guest contributor program. The views expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of TheStreet or its management.

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