Gold futures recovered their initial losses Friday as traders used a recent pullback as a bargain-hunting opportunity on continuing uneasiness with the U.S. economy after a jobs report was not as strong as forecast.
At 11 a.m. EST, February gold futures were $5.70, or 0.4%, higher at $1,377.40 an ounce on the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange. They have bounced from an early low of $1,352.70.
“Investors are still saying that with growth as sluggish as it is, they’re going to continue to buy gold and silver as a safe-haven purchase,” said Mike Daly, gold and silver specialist with PFGBest. “The game has been real simple as of late. The world seems to be buying dips….Any time the market is sold off and profit-taking happens, right after that you see an influx of bargain-hunting buying.”
The market got stronger U.S. economic data earlier in the week, including manufacturing and service-sector surveys from the Institute for Supply Management and a private-sector ADP report two days ago. However, the key U.S. employment report Friday morning disappointed market participants.
U.S. non-farm payrolls rose 103,000 last month, the Labor Department reported. This fell short of forecasts of around 150,000 to 175,000, although payrolls in November and October were revised higher by around 70,000.
“We hear of good economic data, but we don’t seem to be able to maintain it,” Daly said.
Daly added that gold could get some seasonal support, particularly as the jewelry industry gears up for Valentine’s Day next month.
One New York futures trader suggested some of the recent selling had probably run its course. Then, a number of markets got a “jolt” from the employment report, he said.
“We dipped through some support on the opening, and bounced back 10 minutes later when the (jobs) numbers came out,” he said. The data suggests central bankers will maintain accommodative monetary policy, while there is potential for inflation down the road, the trader said.