Metals Stocks: Gold prices push to fresh four-month highs as investors wait for inflation data
Gold prices were aiming at fresh four-month highs on Friday as investors got ready for a batch of important inflation numbers due later.
February gold GCG8, +0.54% rose $6.40, or 0.5%, to $1,329 an ounce. On Thursday, the contract finished up 0.2% to $1,322.50 an ounce, the strongest settlement for a most-active contract since Sept. 15, according to FactSet data. Gold is now looking at a weekly gain of around 0.6%, while month-to-date the metal is up 1.5%.
The ICE U.S. Dollar Index DXY, -0.41% — a gauge of the greenback against a half-dozen rivals — was steady on Friday, but set to lose 0.1% for the week. A weaker dollar can boost the appeal of gold as an investment, as most commodities are priced in dollars. On the flip side of that, a stronger dollar can often weaken gold.
Coming up for investors are important December consumer price inflation numbers, due at 8:30 a.m. Eastern Time. Closely watched core prices are expected to rise 0.2%, following a 0.1% gain in November, according to economists polled by MarketWatch. Headline CPI is forecast to rise 0.1%, after a 0.4% jump in November.
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Of concern for investors in gold is if inflation comes in stronger than expected, which could speed up the Federal Reserves expected plans to increase interest rates. Rising interest rates increase the appeal of holding dollars, but also hurt gold as it’s largely priced in the currency and it doesn’t offer a yield.
Also at 8:30 a.m. Eastern, retail sales data will be released. Economists polled by MarketWatch expect sales to have risen 0.5% in December, from a 0.8% gain in November.
March silver SIH8, +0.94% was also enjoying a run higher, up 18 cents, or 1%, to $17.14 an ounce. But silver is down 0.9% for the week so far.
In other metals trading, March palladium PAH8, +0.49% rose 0.8% to $1,084.70.
April platinum PLJ8, +0.75% meanwhile, gained 0.4% to $994.50 an ounce.
March copper HGH8, +0.26% added 0.4% to $3.246 a pound.