Gold price near steady as risk appetite growing

Gold prices are trading not far from unchanged in early U.S. dealings Wednesday. Buying interest is being limited in safe-haven gold and silver as trader and investor risk appetite seems to be growing keener by the day. However, selling interest in the metals is being squelched by the big rebound in crude oil prices recently, which suggests "black gold" and the leader of the raw commodity sector has put in at least a near-term bottom. February gold was last up $0.50 at $1,785.50 and March Comex silver was last down $0.093 at $22.425 an ounce.

Global stock markets were mostly up in overnight trading. U.S. stock indexes are pointed toward firmer openings when the New York day session begins. The Omicron fears seen over the past nearly two weeks have quickly faded as trader and investor risk appetite is robust at mid-week. Pfizer has just reported three vaccine doses neutralize the Omicron variant, while two doses likely still prevent serious effects from the variant.

As Omicron moves off the front burner of the marketplace, focus is on other matters such as new ideas the Federal Reserve will move even more quickly to end its bond-buying program, so it can start raising U.S. interest rates. The Fed's FOMC meets next week. The marketplace now expects the Fed to hike rates in May of next year. The Fed recently abandoned its notion that inflation is just "transitory."

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