Gold for February delivery GCG4 +0.28% rose $1.90, or 0.2%, to settle at $1,240.20 an ounce on the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange. March silver SIH4 -0.22% extended its losses to a third straight session, losing 8 cents, or 0.4%, to $20.05 an ounce.
Gold futures had tallied a loss of almost $13 an ounce over the past two trading sessions. On Wednesday, gold prices fell as investors bought up equities amid another batch of better-than-expected economic numbers.
“The last couple of days saw the equity markets and the U.S. dollar bounce, which resulted in modest selling in the metals,” said Peter Hug, global trading director at Kitco Metals Inc.
On Thursday, however, the S&P 500 index SPX -0.13% retreated from the record levels it saw a day earlier while the U.S. dollar DXY -0.18% gave up gains against major rivals, marking its first loss against the Japanese yen USDJPY -0.24% in three sessions.
The key for gold through the end of the weak are “signs of risk on or risk off via the equity markets and the inverse impact to gold,” said Jeffrey Wright, managing director at H.C. Wainwright.
Looking further ahead, one annual catalyst starting to approach is the Chinese New Year on January 31st, he said. “I am beginning to look for signs/indications of physical purchasing increasing as we get closer to the date. I haven’t seen or heard much yet.”
Elsewhere in metals trading Thursday, platinum for April delivery PLJ4 +0.11% closed up $2.90, or 0.2%, at $1,431.50 an ounce, while March palladium PAH4 -0.18% fell 10 cents to $743.90 an ounce.
High-grade copper for March delivery HGH4 -0.51% dipped about 1.5 cents, or 0.5%, $3.34 a pound.
On Thursday afternoon, metals-mining shares traded mostly higher, with the Philadelphia Gold and Silver Index XAU +0.60% up 0.3%. Citigroup moved its 12-month stance on mining firms to bullish from neutral.
The SPDR Gold Trust exchange-traded fund GLD +0.04% edged up by 0.1%, but it’s down almost 0.5% week to date.
In U.S. economic news, a report on weekly jobless claims came in slightly better than anticipated, while inflation data roughly matched expectations. A reading of manufacturing sentiment in the Philadelphia area picked up in January.
Analysts at Heraeus Metals forecast some lingering weakness for gold as the global economy heals and as investor appetite shifts.
“The need for gold as a ‘safe haven’ is, for some time, now no longer prevailing: Besides the positive signs of improvement in the U.S. economy, the European Union-crisis nations are also putting their saving plans into action, and the acute crisis-fear has somewhat abated,” they wrote.
“The prevailing risk-aversion of the past years has recently been replaced by rekindled interest in risk-richer assets classes like equities,” Heraeus Metals said.
Meanwhile, departing Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke spoke at the Brookings Institution’s Hutchins Center Thursday in his final public appearance as head of the central bank. He defended the central bank’s response to the financial crisis. See the live blog recap of the event.
At a seminar on monetary policy, San Francisco Fed President John Williams said the central bank’s asset purchase programs have proven “a potent but blunt tool” that still unsettles policy makers.
Courtesy: Market Watch