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Metals Stocks: Gold futures end flat as investors look to U.S. jobs report for the metal’s next move


Gold futures ended unchanged on Thursday, with investors expecting the metal to take its next directional cue from the monthly U.S. jobs data due Friday.

Prices for the yellow metal held onto a climb for the week after recently climbing to their highest level in three weeks.

Silver prices, meanwhile, eked out a gain for the session after a nearly 3% loss on Wednesday.

Price action

Gold futures

for December delivery settled flat at $1,720.80 per ounce on Comex, after trading between a low of $1,714.80 and high of $1,734.20. Prices for the most-active contract fell Wednesday, but settled Tuesday at $1,730.50, the highest since Sept.12.

December silver futures

rose 12 cents, or 0.6%, to $20.66 per ounce after posting a loss of 2.6% Wednesday and ending Tuesday at $21.099, their highest since late June.

December palladium

climbed $19.60, or 0.9%, to $2,275.50 per ounce, while January platinum

rose $7.20, or 0.8%, to $921.80 per ounce.

Copper futures

for December delivery settled at $3.446 per pound, down a nickel, or 1.6%.

What’s happening

Gold had been paring its gains from earlier in the week due to a rebound in Treasury yields

and the dollar, analysts said. The 10-year Treasury climbed 4 basis point to 3.801%, while the ICE U.S. Dollar Index

rose 0.9% to 112.04 in Thursday dealings.

Investors will receive an update on the strength of the U.S. labor market on Friday when nonfarm payrolls data for September are released.

Everyone will be “closely watching tomorrow’s U.S. September nonfarm payrolls and its impact on the November Federal Reserve meeting,” said Chintan Karnani, director of research at Insignia Consultants. There has to be an increase in unemployment in the U.S. for the market to see a slower pace of interest-rate hikes, he told MarketWatch.

On Thursday, the number of people who applied for U.S. unemployment benefits last week jumped by 29,000 to a five-week high of 219,000, possibly a sign of rising layoffs as the U.S. economy slows.

The Federal Reserve has been lifting interest rates to try to tame inflation, which contributed to a rise in the dollar — pressuring dollar-denominated gold prices.

Read: Kashkari says inflation still too high for Fed to mull pause in interest-rate hikes

Also see: Fed’s Cook backs policy of higher-for-longer interest rates

Bond yields, the direction of U.S. stock futures and the U.S. dollar index will continue to impact bullion prices until the release of the U.S. September consumer price index on Oct. 12, said Karnani. He believes gold will be “near $1,900 if it closes over the 50-day moving average after the release of CPI numbers next week.” Data from FactSet show the 50-day moving average for December gold at $1,736.50.

For now, in Thursday’s newsletter, analysts at Sevens Report Research wrote that the “recently established 2022 lows [for gold] leave the path of least resistance lower.” Gold futures on Sept. 26 settled at $1,633.40, the lowest since April 2020.

“However with renewed hopes that we have reached peak hawkishness, gold could be primed for a relief rally off the [year to date] lows,” the analysts said. The key level to watch on the charts is the August high of $1,819, as “a close above would be a bullish development from a technical standpoint.”

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