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July 15, 2020, 2:14 p.m. EDT

Gold edges up on dollar weakness, but strength in the stock market on vaccine hopes caps gain

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By Myra P. Saefong and Mark DeCambre, MarketWatch


AFP/Getty Images

Gold posted a gain on Wednesday, with the dollar-denominated metal finding some support from weakness in the U.S. dollar, but strength in global stock markets on optimism surrounding a coronavirus vaccine kept a cap on the price rise.

Better-than-expected quarterly results from U.S. corporations also helped to diminish the traditional haven appeal for bullion.

Bullish commodity investors make the case that gold’s uptrend remains intact but warn that its recent runup above the psychologically important $1,800-an-ounce level may be giving way to a pause.

“Gold is wavering around the $1,800 mark in a manner that could be viewed as both bullish and bearish, depending on how you view it,” wrote Craig Erlam, senior market analyst at Oanda, in a Wednesday note.

“The flip side is that, rather than seeing an explosion of buyers on the back of the breakout, it’s looking a little tired,” he wrote.

Gold for August delivery /zigman2/quotes/210034565/delayed GC00 +0.44%  on Comex tacked on 40 cents, or 0.02%, to settle at $1,813.80 an ounce, after declining less than 0.1% on Tuesday, bouncing off a low that had taken beneath the $1,800 threshold.

Global equities Wednesday were buoyed in part by Moderna Inc. /zigman2/quotes/205619834/composite MRNA +0.46% , which said its coronavirus vaccine candidate produced a “robust” immune-system response in a larger group of people and that the study would move to a further clinical trial in July. Markets also reacted positively to a separate report on developments for an Oxford University vaccine candidate backed by AstraZeneca PLC /zigman2/quotes/203048482/delayed UK:AZN +0.61%   /zigman2/quotes/200304487/composite AZN -1.42% .

In the U.S., Goldman Sachs /zigman2/quotes/209237603/composite GS +1.97% /zigman2/quotes/209237603/composite GS +1.97% on Wednesday delivered results that beat expectations for revenue and earnings, with shares rising more than 4% in premarket action.

The flow of sanguine news for the equities market suggests a quick recovery from the economic damage wrought by the COVID-19 pandemic and has lessened the need for safe haven precious metals. Thus far, gold has been driven to around its highest level since 2011 given the uncertainties about the outlook for businesses across the world.

September silver /zigman2/quotes/210318628/delayed SIU20 +2.00% , meanwhile, rose 23 cents, or 1.2%, to $19.761 an ounce, recovering most of its decline from Tuesday.

Arguably limiting the decline for gold is trade in the U.S. dollar, which was off 0.2% at 96.09, according to a gauge of the buck against a half-dozen currencies as measured by the ICE U.S. Dollar index /zigman2/quotes/210598269/delayed DXY -0.08% . A softer dollar can make assets priced in the monetary unit more attractive to commodity buyers using other currencies.

Expectations for a longstanding policy of easy-money from global central banks and fiscal stimulus from governments to curtail the harm from the viral outbreak also has served as a buttress for bullion, experts say.

On Wednesday, Philadelphia Fed President Patrick Harker said in an interview on Bloomberg Television that he would support a change in monetary policy where the central bank would let the economy run hot until inflation rises above the central bank’s 2% annual target before raising borrowing costs.

That followed comments from Fed Governor Lael Brainard on Tuesday in which he also backed the idea of letting inflation get over 2% before the Fed takes any action to raise interest rates.

The Fed’s Beige book, released after the gold futures settlement, showed that activity increased in almost all districts, but remains well below pre-pandemic levels. August gold edged up from the settlement in electronic trading to stand at $1,814.80 an ounce shortly after the report.

U.S. economic data released Wednesday were mostly upbeat. Data showed that the cost of goods imported into the U.S. jumped 1.4% in June to mark the second straight increase. Excluding energy, however, import prices rose a much smaller 0.3%.

Meanwhile, business activity in New York state increased in July for the first time since the pandemic began in March, with Empire State business conditions index at 17.2 in July, up from negative 0.2 in the prior month. Industrial production rose 5.4% in June, the second gain after a steep drop in March and April, the Federal Reserve reported Wednesday.

Among other metals traded on Comex Wednesday, September copper /zigman2/quotes/210058775/delayed HGU20 +0.39%  fell by 1.6% to $2.885 a pound. October platinum /zigman2/quotes/213501024/delayed PLV20 +1.90%  tacked on 0.8% to $843.20 an ounce and September palladium /zigman2/quotes/213028404/delayed PAU20 +1.73%  rose 1.2% to $2,010 an ounce.

/zigman2/quotes/210034565/delayed
US : U.S.: Nymex
$ 2,037.00
+9.00 +0.44%
Volume: 30,416
Aug. 9, 2020 11:03p
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/zigman2/quotes/205619834/composite
US : U.S.: Nasdaq
$ 74.10
+0.34 +0.46%
Volume: 8.77M
Aug. 7, 2020 4:00p
P/E Ratio
N/A
Dividend Yield
N/A
Market Cap
$28.81 billion
Rev. per Employee
$177,721
loading...
/zigman2/quotes/203048482/delayed
UK : U.K.: London
8,470.00 p
+51.00 +0.61%
Volume: 991,924
Aug. 7, 2020 4:35p
P/E Ratio
65.20
Dividend Yield
2.55%
Market Cap
£111.15 billion
Rev. per Employee
N/A
loading...
/zigman2/quotes/200304487/composite
US : U.S.: NYSE
$ 55.41
-0.80 -1.42%
Volume: 3.85M
Aug. 7, 2020 4:00p
P/E Ratio
67.57
Dividend Yield
2.47%
Market Cap
$145.06 billion
Rev. per Employee
$342,432
loading...
/zigman2/quotes/209237603/composite
US : U.S.: NYSE
$ 208.27
+4.02 +1.97%
Volume: 3.07M
Aug. 7, 2020 4:00p
P/E Ratio
15.84
Dividend Yield
2.40%
Market Cap
$71.62 billion
Rev. per Employee
$1.34M
loading...
/zigman2/quotes/209237603/composite
US : U.S.: NYSE
$ 208.27
+4.02 +1.97%
Volume: 3.07M
Aug. 7, 2020 4:00p
P/E Ratio
15.84
Dividend Yield
2.40%
Market Cap
$71.62 billion
Rev. per Employee
$1.34M
loading...
/zigman2/quotes/210318628/delayed
US : U.S.: Nymex
$ 28.09
+0.55 +2.00%
Volume: 23,197
Aug. 9, 2020 11:03p
loading...
/zigman2/quotes/210598269/delayed
US : U.S.: ICE Futures U.S.
93.36
-0.08 -0.08%
Volume: 0.00
Aug. 9, 2020 11:03p
loading...
/zigman2/quotes/210058775/delayed
US : U.S.: Nymex
$ 2.80
+0.01 +0.39%
Volume: 13,365
Aug. 9, 2020 11:03p
loading...
/zigman2/quotes/213501024/delayed
US : U.S.: Nymex
$ 988.80
+18.40 +1.90%
Volume: 1,189
Aug. 9, 2020 11:03p
loading...
/zigman2/quotes/213028404/delayed
US : U.S.: Nymex
$ 2,214.30
+37.70 +1.73%
Volume: 60.00
Aug. 9, 2020 10:55p
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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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