Gold prices notched a modest gain on Thursday as a leading dollar index steadied and benchmark U.S. stock indexes saw a pullback a day after the Dow Jones Industrial Average scored its best performance in eight months.
Gold for February delivery
which is the most-active contract, added 60 cents, or 0.05%, to settle at $1,230.40 an ounce. It settled 0.8% higher on Wednesday, then climbed in overnight dealings.
In electronic trading Thursday, futures prices fell to $1,228.70, shortly after minutes from the Federal Open Market Committee’s November monetary policy meeting revealed that every member of the committee was on board with lifting interest rates “fairly soon.”
U.S. stock indexes, meanwhile, traded mostly lower Thursday as gold futures settled, one day after Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell’s dovishly interpreted speech sparked a market rally, the likes of which had not been seen since March, and as investors turned their focus to other macro headwinds, like a rising dollar, slumping oil prices and slowing global growth.
Powell told the Economic Club of New York Wednesday that “interest rates are still low by historical standards, and they remain just below the broad range of estimates of the level that would be neutral for the economy.” His comments appear more dovish than in early October when he said interest rates were a long way from neutral.
“As is usual, the chairman presented a ‘balanced’ analysis of the U.S. economy and stated the financial system vulnerabilities are not elevated,” said Chris Gaffney, president of world markets at TIAA Bank, in comments emailed late Wednesday.
“While investors have viewed the comments thus far as being dovish, the December rate hike is still not in jeopardy and all indications are that the Fed is prepared to hike a minimum of two more times in 2019,” he said. “We still haven’t seen any indication they will pause in the near term.”
That would mean the recent rally in gold may be short-lived, Gaffney said.
The ICE U.S. Dollar Index
was up 0.1% at 96.889 as gold futures settled. A stronger dollar typically weakens investment demand for dollar-priced commodities, including gold, and vice versa.
As for related exchange-traded funds, the SPDR Gold Shares
and the iShares Silver Trust
were up modestly. The VanEck Vectors Gold Miners ETF
Meanwhile, March silver
fell 5.3 cents, or 0.4%, to $14.402 an ounce.
fell nearly 0.9% to $2.79 a pound. January platinum
lost almost 0.7% at $820.90 an ounce. March palladium
shed 50 cents to finish at $1,151.40 an ounce. On Wednesday, it rose 2.7% to $1,151.90 an ounce, settling close to the $1,154.60 record for a most-active contract reached in mid-November.
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