GOLD PRICE NEWS – The gold price retreated modestly on Thursday after a better than expected U.S. employment report reduced the safe-haven appeal of the yellow metal.  The spot price of gold fell by as much as $10.03, or 0.6%, to $1,675.56 per ounce this morning, but subsequently recouped approximately half of its loss.  Gold prices were also pressured by a firmer U.S. dollar, which advanced by 0.4% against a composite of the world’s most-traded currencies.

Silver fared better than the price of gold, as it was able to recapture its entire earlier decline.  The spot price of silver initially dropped by $0.23, or 0.7%, to $30.74, but soon after bounced back into positive territory at $31.01 per ounce.  Other precious metals were mixed, with platinum futures rising 0.6% to $1,577.00 per ounce and palladium sliding 1.1% to $700.05 per ounce.

As for gold stocks, the sector exhibited mild weakness alongside the gold price and broader equity markets.  The Market Vectors Gold Miners ETF (GDX) dipped $0.14, or 0.3%, to $46.96 per share while the S&P 500 Index inched lower by 0.1% to 1,460.80.

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Notable gold stocks in the GDX moving lower included Eldorado Gold (EGO) and Goldcorp (GG) – which fell by 0.5% to $13.19 and by 1.4% to $36.99 per share, respectively.  On the positive side, Gold Fields (GFI) advanced by 0.6% to $12.54 while Newmont Mining (NEM) added 0.5% to $47.14 per share.

On the economic front, gold prices received a headwind in the form of a better than expected ADP Employment report.  At 215,000, the private sector payroll additions for December came in well above the 140,000 consensus estimate among economists.

Commenting on the ADP data, Moody’s Analytics chief economist Mark Zandi stated that “The job market held firm in December despite the intensifying fiscal cliff negotiations in Washington.  Businesses even became somewhat more aggressive in their hiring at year end.”

Weekly jobless claims were also reported this morning, and at 372,000 were larger than the 360,000 level economists had forecasted.  However, the data for nine states was estimated due to the holiday season and therefore was considered to be less accurate than usual.

Looking ahead, the next significant catalyst for the price of gold and the broader financial markets is likely to be tomorrow’s non-farm payrolls report and unemployment data.  There, economists are expecting the bureau of Labor Statistics to report job additions of 150,000 and an unemployment rate which remained unchanged at 7.7%.

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