Gold is trading higher on Thursday morning, rising up to nearly $1,450 an ounce, just as expected heading into the day's option expiration for the May contracts.
As many investors were long "put" options—which protected their positions above $1,500 and profited from a downside move—they must now exit these puts. (Learn More: CNBC Explains Put Options.)
This week, traders can exit their put positions by buying futures,offsetting these expiring puts. Or instead, traders can sell their puts, which market makers then hedge by countering the trade. The bottom line is we are seeing an overall increase in buying activity. This, coupled with an oversold market, can really bring some much-needed mojo.
The first major target that we expect to reach is between $1,455.80 and $1,458.50. From there, look for a move toward $1,474 to $1,478.20. Although Wednesday's floor close showed $1,423.70, the 4:15 Globex close pressed above $1,430 toward Tuesday's high. This provided momentum.
We're using $1,427 to $1,438.80 as support, and this level provides a solid early buying opportunity. The market is running into light resistance at $1,447.20, but overall price action at this level should encourage additional buying into options expiration at the floor close Thursday afternoon.
That said, a failure to hold between $1,437.50 and $1,438.80 will be very discouraging for the bull camp, and an inability to hold between $1,424 and $1,428 on a downswing will signal a collapse.