Gold prices slipped modestly Friday, but remained poised to extend their record 10-year bull run into an 11th year, despite huge losses in September and December that still left the yellow metal with a more than 10 percent gain this year.
At the start of this year gold carried a spot price of $1,432.10 per troy ounce. By Sept. 6 it was worth $1,923, a 34 percent increase and a nominal record. Subsequent to reaching its new high, prices fell, tumbling particularly hard during September and again in December. By the close of Friday's trading gold was still up about 12 percent from its Jan. 1, 2011, price.
The number of Americans filing for first-time weekly state unemployment benefits fell by 4,000 to 364,000, the lowest level since April 2008. The Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan's sentiment index climbed to 69.9 from 64.1 last month. Industrial commodities also increased, as did equities.
Signs of strength in the U.S. economy lifted stocks globally. Asian stocks increased, with the Hang Seng and Straits Times posting gains, while the Nikkei 225 retreated modestly.
In Europe, all major equity indexes closed higher. The Britain's FTSE 100 settled up 1 percent, Germany's DAX added 0.46 percent and France's CAC 40 rose 1 percent.
In late afternoon trading, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 0.7 percent, the Nasdaq 100 was up 0.5 percent and the S&P 500 had climbed 0.6 percent.
The most actively traded gold contract on the Comex slipped $4.60 to $1,606 as the dollar rose against the euro on strong U.S. economic reports.
The most actively traded silver contract on the Comex rose 30 cents to $29.35, while silver for immediate delivery was off 20 cents to $29.36.
For the week, gold gained 0.6 percent, silver fell 1.6 percent, platinum increased 0.9 percent and palladium jumped 6.6 percent.