Gold hovers at 1-month high as latest win streak is extended

Gold futures prices trudged higher Thursday, trading at a one-month high after gaining in all but two sessions over the past two-plus weeks.

Copper, fueled by hopes for strong 2018 demand from top consumer China, continued its run higher, trading at four-year highs.

Metals rose as a leading dollar index fell, making dollar-priced gold more attractive to investors using another currency. An expected upbeat stock session, led by higher oil prices, could limit the appeal of haven gold, however.

February gold , the most active contract on Comex, rose $2.90, or 0.2%, to $1,294.30 an ounce. It settled at $1,291.40 Wednesday. Gold had not settled higher since Nov. 28, when the metal ended at $1,294.90, according to FactSet data. A string of six-straight gains matches a winning streak of that length last seen in the third week of July.

Gold futures are headed for a nearly 12% gain this year, although that performance pales next to the 20% to 30% gain for major stock indexes as risk-on sentiment dominated the year.

The gold-focused exchange-traded SPDR Gold Trust rose 0.4%, while the VanEck Vectors Gold Miners ETF slipped 0.1%.

Falling U.S. bond yields were cited as one reason for dollar weakness and gold strength on Thursday. On Wednesday, the yield for the benchmark 10-year Treasury note logged its biggest one-day drop in more than three months and it remained under pressure.

”The flattening of the yield curve has triggered concerns that investors are possibly pricing in a slowing of the economy or even a recession and while this has historically happened on such expectations, I’m not convinced this is the case this time,” said Craig Erlam, senior market analyst, with Oanda.

“Given the current environment, it’s possible that this is more a reflection of longer term interest rates and the low inflation environment than the economic prospects,” he said. “Still, if yields on long term U.S. debt don’t rise or even fall as the Fed raises interest rates, it could fuel fears of an impending recession,” which could prove supportive for gold.

More clues on the economy will be found in the weekly jobless claims report, due at 8:30 a.m. Eastern Time, which is forecast to show 239,000 Americans filed for unemployment benefits last week, down from 245,000 the week before. Data on advance trade in goods for November are out at 8:30 a.m. Eastern as well, followed by the purchasing managers index for Chicago at 9:45 a.m. Eastern.

In other metals, March silver rose 2 cents, or 0.1%, to $16.775 an ounce.

March palladium fell $2.05, or 0.2%, at $1,054.30 an ounce. January platinum , meanwhile, added $1.90, or 0.2%, to $925.60 an ounce.

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