Markets: What to watch at the open

The Syrian crisis is destabilising gold futures, while signs of growth in China and Europe should give an extra boost to Rio Tinto.

Gold futures

Having fallen the most in two months, gold futures took a hit overnight to close under $US1400 an ounce. Russia vocalised its opposing views on any US military action against Syria unless there is conclusive proof Syria used chemical weapons.

Domestic gold miners have been responding to gold future price changes and today will likely be no different. Once the threat of geopolitical conflict has subsided, gold miners will need demand to significantly pick up to keep prices at current levels.

Gold futures lost $US20.50 yesterday to close at $1391.50, a loss of 1.45 per cent.

Rio Tinto

Rio’s Authorised Deposit Receipts (ADR) gained 1.5 per cent in the US overnight. Upbeat macro-economic data should see them chase gains again today.

Hosting a site visit this week is proving wonders for Rio Tinto’s share price, which is up 5.5 per cent since Friday’s closing price. Confirmation Rio Tinto is on time or ahead of budget has reinvigorated investor support for the stock.

Improving growth outlooks from China and the eurozone are continuing to provide ongoing support for Australia’s largest miners.

The past two weeks has seen investors push the price of Rio Tinto higher 2.7 per cent against a flat BHP Billiton.