GOLD PRICE NEWS – The price of gold recouped a considerable portion of its earlier sell-off on Friday following the latest U.S. jobs report.  The spot gold price plunged by as much as $49.52, or 3.0%, to $1,626.04 per ounce in overnight trading, but subsequently rebounded toward the $1,650 level.  Nevertheless, the decline brought the price of gold to its lowest level since mid-August and put the yellow metal on pace for its sixth consecutive weekly loss.

Silver followed a similar path as the gold price, as it tumbled earlier this morning by $0.91, or 3.0%, to $29.24 per ounce – also a four and a half month low.  Gold’s sister precious metal later bounced back toward the $29.90 level, however.

Gold stocks remained under pressure alongside the price of gold, with the Market Vectors Gold Miners ETF (GDX) sliding by as much as $0.64, or 1.4%, to $44.50 per share.  The gold mining sector also underperformed the broader equity markets on Friday, as the S&P 500 Index inched up by 0.2% to 1,461.97.

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Notable gold stocks in the red this morning included Barrick Gold (ABX), Kinross Gold (KGC), and Randgold Resources (GOLD).  Shares of ABX fell by 1.4% to $33.96, KGC by 2.3% to $9.21, and GOLD by 2.1% to $95.79.

The majority of this week’s sell-off in the price of gold occurred in the aftermath of yesterday’s Federal Reserve minutes, which revealed that several members of the U.S. central bank may prefer to have the fourth round of quantitative easing (QE4) end later this year.  This development marked a substantial change from the Fed’s prior mid-2015 timeframe for the conclusion of its asset purchase programs.

Commenting on the Fed minutes, Christin Tuxen, an analyst with Danske Bank, stated that “The (gold) market had been too preoccupied with the sheer size of the quantitative easing program, and had not seen that at some point you would need a phase out of QE policy.  The timing will be earlier than the market had been initially expecting, which is negative for gold.”

As for today’s employment report, non-farm payrolls grew in December by 155,000, slightly above the 152,000 consensus estimate among economists.  However, the unemployment ticked up to 7.8%, while economists had expected it to remain unchanged at 7.7%.

Marc Chandler, global head of currency strategy at Brown Brothers Harriman, contended that the jobs data “was a bit disappointing to those who thought the ADP data (reported on Thursday) was a reliable tell of a stronger number.”  However, Chandler added that “the details were stronger than expected…upward revisions added another 38,000 jobs, which if added back to the headline, would be close to the 200,000 increase that some economists forecast.”

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