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Jan. 17, 2020, 2:03 p.m. EST

Gold futures gain for the session, but end little changed for the week

Palladium futures soar to more record highs

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By Myra P. Saefong and Mark DeCambre, MarketWatch


AFP/Getty Images
Gold shines

Gold futures moved higher on Friday, but the yellow metal barely budged for the week as stock rallied to all-time highs, helping to undercut some demand for assets perceived as havens.

“Gold has struggled to shine this week as positive economic data from the United States and China cooled concerns over the global economy,” said Lukman Otunuga, senior research analyst at FXTM.

“Appetite towards the metal was also bruised by the ‘phase one’ [U.S.-China] deal, which offered some light at the end of the long trade war tunnel,” he told MarketWatch. “With stock markets hitting record highs and the dollar stabilizing, gold is positioned to weaken in the short term.”

Gold for February delivery /zigman2/quotes/210035396/delayed GCG20 +0.99%  on Comex gained $9.80, or 0.6%, to settle at $1,560.30 an ounce. March silver /zigman2/quotes/210316162/delayed SIH20 +0.27% , meanwhile, picked up 13.4 cents, or about 0.8%, at $18.073 an ounce.

For the week, gold futures gained about 20 cents higher than last Friday’s settlement, following gains for each of the last three weeks, according to FactSet data. Silver fell about 0.2% for the week.

“The first two months of the year tend to be bullish for gold from a seasonality perspective,” said Adam Koos, president of Libertas Wealth Management Group. However, some traders who pay attention to seasonality may look to take profit come the end of February, he said.

“So far, the market doesn’t seem to care about the Trump impeachment process, but if the Senate ramps things up in the coming weeks, we could see the fear trade step in and push gold prices higher,” Koos added.

Gold prices briefly pared earlier gains after a U.S. housing report came in at its best level in about 13 years. Housing starts and permits jumped 16.9% to an annual rate of 1.608 million units last month, the highest level since 2006. Consumer sentiment index in January, meanwhile, slipped to 99.1 from 99.3 in December.

Bullion prices have managed to hold above a line viewed as support by technical analyst at $1,550, offering a modicum of optimism for gold bulls.

“The gold markets like gold much more than the risk correlation matrixes do for sure. Indeed, there is demand for all thing’s gold, as evidenced in the sturdy bid around $1550/oz,” wrote Stephen Innes, chief Asia market strategist at AxiTrader, in a daily research report.

Traders also digested readings of expansion for China, which showed economic growth picked up in December. However, growth slowed to new multi-decade low of 6.1% in 2019.

Rounding out action on Comex, March copper /zigman2/quotes/210055491/delayed HGH20 -1.42%  settled at $2.8455 a pound, down 0.05% for the session. For the week, prices rose 1.1%.

April platinum /zigman2/quotes/210262726/delayed PLJ20 -0.99%  added 2.4%, to $1,024.80 an ounce, with prices up 3.9% for the week, while March palladium /zigman2/quotes/210239659/delayed PAH20 -2.68%  notched a fresh record high, up 2.2% to settle at $2,224.90 an ounce, tallying a weekly climb of more than 7%.

“Given a sea of green in global equity markets, mostly positive Chinese economic data (retail sales were strong enough to consider the data positive) and increased media coverage on the stellar gains” in the platinum group metals markets, the bull camp for palladium looks to have a fundamental edge, analysts at Zaner Metals said in a daily note.

Read: Why palladium prices keep hitting new highs and rhodium has already rallied by 30% this year

/zigman2/quotes/210035396/delayed
US : U.S.: Nymex
$ 1,660.80
+16.20 +0.99%
Volume: 434.00
Feb. 24, 2020 4:12p
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/zigman2/quotes/210316162/delayed
US : U.S.: Nymex
$ 18.58
+0.05 +0.27%
Volume: 138,222
Feb. 24, 2020 4:52p
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/zigman2/quotes/210055491/delayed
US : U.S.: Nymex
$ 2.57
-0.04 -1.42%
Volume: 96,812
Feb. 24, 2020 4:52p
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/zigman2/quotes/210262726/delayed
US : U.S.: Nymex
$ 966.40
-9.70 -0.99%
Volume: 24,380
Feb. 24, 2020 4:51p
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/zigman2/quotes/210239659/delayed
US : U.S.: Nymex
$ 2,535.50
-69.90 -2.68%
Volume: 5,055
Feb. 24, 2020 4:50p
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Myra Saefong is a MarketWatch reporter based in San Francisco. Follow her on Twitter @MktwSaefong. Mark DeCambre is MarketWatch's markets editor. He is based in New York. Follow him on Twitter @mdecambre.

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