COMEX gold futures closed slightly lower on Friday, with the February contract settling down by $3.80, or 0.2%, at $1,687.00 per ounce. The yellow metal reached an intra-day high of $1,695.10 this morning, but relinquished its gains amid strength in the U.S. dollar.
In spite of today’s small decline, the most actively-traded gold futures contract finished the week higher by 1.6% – its best performance in nearly two months.
Howard Wen, an analyst with HSBC, attributed the recent rally in gold to “some good physical demand from Asia, particularly China, after better-than-expected GDP data.”
Looking forward, Wen noted that “We expect physical buying to pick up ahead of the Chinese New Year on Feb. 10.” He added that “There is some technical resistance at that $1,700 level, and gold has to break above that to move higher.”
Silver fared better than the yellow metal today, as the COMEX March futures contract finished up by $0.12, or 0.4%, at $31.93 per ounce. In doing so, silver posted a weekly advance of 5.0% – its largest since mid-November as well.
In contrast to the precious metals, shares of most gold and silver stocks continued to disappoint. In afternoon trading, the Philadelphia Gold & Silver Index (XAU) remained lower by 0.3% at 161.06. With today’s dip, the XAU is now on pace for a weekly loss of 1.4%.
Notable decliners on Friday included XAU components Goldcorp (GG), Randgold Resources (GOLD), and Silver Standard Resources (SSRI). Shares of GG fell by 0.4% to $37.11, GOLD by 0.9% to $92.05, and SSRI by 2.0% to $13.08.