Metals Stocks: Gold gains, will snap worst weekly skid in 12 years
Gold futures advanced Friday for a fifth straight session — and with the weekly gain will snap what had been the longest weekly losing streak in more than 12 years.
Precious metals gained in this final trading day of 2016 as the dollar index pulled back from the 14-year highs it hit late this month. Thanks to strong early-year performances, both gold and silver will log sizable gains for the year, their best annual showing since 2012.
Early Friday, gold futures for February delivery GCG7, +0.22% rose $1.50, or 0.1%, to $1,159.50 an ounce, a tiny move but enough to grow the contract’s weekly gain to about 2%, and trim December’s decline to 1.4%.
March silver SIH7, +0.35% was up 3 cents, or 0.2%, at $16.25 an ounce. A close at this level would be its highest since December 14. For the month, silver is on track for a roughly 2% drop.
The ICE Dollar Index DXY, -0.54% which typically moves inversely to gold, was down 0.4% at 102.27. This dollar gauge, which measures the strength of the buck against a basket of six currencies, traded in recent sessions at its highest level since December 2002, according to FactSet data.
Because most gold is priced in dollars, any advances for the greenback make the metal more expensive for other currency holders, presumably lowering demand. Thus, when the dollar is weaker, gold tends to gain. What’s more, market focus remains on the prospect for additional fiscal stimulus as the Donald Trump administration takes over, and with it prospects for even higher interest rates than what the Federal Reserve has hinted at. Higher rates typically lower demand for nonyielding gold.
And don’t expect trading focus to turn away from gold’s dollar tether any time soon.
“The wrangling over U.S. fiscal policy is likely to be the main risk to the dollar in 2017,” said Marshall Gittler, head of investment research with FXPRIMUS, in a commentary. “Nevertheless, I still expect the dollar to strengthen further.”
“There’s likely to be some fiscal boost, if not everything that Trump hopes for,” he said. “Moreover, the Fed recently boosted its interest-rate forecasts without even assuming a more expansive fiscal policy. Thus the monetary policy divergence that’s kept the dollar rising for several years now is likely to continue into 2017, albeit with perhaps more volatility.”
Gold has dropped in December as the dollar gained and Treasury yields rose amid speculation for Trump’s pledged stimulus measures, which remain light on details. Increased spending has prompted some forecasters to crank up their inflation predictions. And, while pro-growth sentiment has been negative for gold in the short run, deeper inflation risks could eventually have the reverse effect and revive demand for gold as a haven investment.
Even with a negative performance likely for all of December, gold and silver are poised for their most robust annual gains since 2012. For gold, that comes courtesy of a some 30% first-half price surge when global economic uncertainty and a surprise Brexit vote for a U.K. split from the European Union pared the global interest-rate outlook. Gold is headed for a roughly 8% advance and silver is up 17% for 2016.
The technical outlook for gold may be differing from fundamental, or news-driven, factors.
“Peering into 2017, the technical pattern for gold prices appears incomplete to the upside. I know it seems strange that at a time when the Fed is increasing rates an asset such as gold would outperform the U.S. dollar, [but] according to the Elliott Wave model, the odds are shifting toward higher prices,” said Jeremy Wagner, head forex trading instructor at Daily FX.
His chart interpretation sees a key downside reversal point for spot gold at $1,120. In the other direction, if gold prices are successful in moving higher, “they may find some static near $1,185-$1,205,” he said. “A successful move above this zone begins to elevate the bullish outlook more.”
In other metals trading, high-grade copper HGH7, +1.05% was up 2 cents, or 0.8%, at $2.51 a pound.