GOLD PRICE NEWS – The gold price inched lower on Monday amid further weakness in precious metals and a modest advance in the U.S. dollar.  The spot price of gold dipped $4.46, or 0.3%, to $1,654.94 per ounce while the U.S. Dollar Index rose by 0.1% to 79.813.  The SPDR Gold Trust (GLD), the world’s largest gold price proxy and gold ETF, fell $0.46, or 0.3%, to $160.19 per share.

Silver fared worse than the price of gold, as it slipped by $0.43, or 1.4%, to $30.81 per ounce.  Among other precious metals, platinum futures dropped by 1.5% to $1,670.01 per ounce, while palladium bucked the trend with a 0.3% rise to $743.50 per ounce.  As for cyclical commodities, copper futures advanced by 0.2% to $3.66 per pound while crude oil added 0.3% to $96.18 per barrel.

Gold stocks came under selling pressure alongside the gold price, as the Market Vectors Gold Miners ETF (GDX) retreated by $0.32, or 0.8%, to $41.60 per share.  The sector also lagged the broader equity markets, as the S&P 500 Index fell by just 0.1% to 1,501.19.

Notable gold stocks in the red included GDX components Harmony Gold (HMY), Kinross Gold (KGC), and Newmont Mining (NEM).  Shares of HMY slid by 2.7% to $6.79, KGC by 2.6% to $8.31, and NEM by 1.4% to $42.67.

Looking to the week ahead, the U.S. economic calendar is particularly full of items likely to impact the price of gold and the broader financial markets.  This morning, Durable Goods for December increased by 4.6%, well above the 2.5% consensus estimate among economists.  However, Pending Home Sales for last month declined by 4.3%, missing the unchanged mark economists were expecting.

Tomorrow’s schedule includes the Case-Shiller home price index, along with a report on Consumer Confidence.  On Wednesday, data on fourth quarter GDP and the ADP Employment report will be released, as well as the always-critical Federal Reserve’s Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) meeting and monetary policy decision.  Thursday’s docket includes reports on Weekly Jobless Claims and the Chicago Purchasing Managers’ Index, and the week then concludes on Friday with the Nonfarm Payrolls Report, Unemployment Rate, University of Michigan Consumer Sentiment Index, and the ISM Index.

Commenting on the outlook for gold prices, Frederic Panizzutti stated that “The market is on hold ahead of the U.S. Federal Reserve’s meeting, and expects comments on further quantitative easing measures…Today’s trade should be pretty quiet, with gold players watching euro/dollar movements, looking for any indication of what is going to happen in the next few days.”

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