Precious metals remained in negative territory on Friday afternoon, but well above the intra-day lows reached prior to the latest U.S. employment report.

COMEX gold futures – per the February contract – finished down by $25.70, or 1.5%, at $1,648.90 per ounce after earlier dropping to $1,626.00.

Silver futures – per the COMEX March contract – closed with a loss of $0.77, or 2.5%, at $29.95 per ounce after sliding to $29.24 this morning.

With the sell-off, gold and silver futures relinquished their gains from earlier this week to finish the holiday-shortened stretch with losses of 0.4% and 0.1%, respectively.  In doing so, gold futures posted their sixth consecutive weekly decline for the first time since April-May of 2004.

Gold and silver stocks suffered another challenging session as well, with the Philadelphia Gold & Silver Index (XAU) dropping by 0.8% to 160.82 this afternoon.  With the loss, the XAU returned to near unchanged on the week – after being up by as much as 5.8% on Wednesday.

(Check out GoldAlert Pro at for rankings of every stock in the XAU, plus price targets, upgrades and downgrades)

This afternoon, notable gold producers in the red included Agnico-Eagle Mines (AEM) and IAMGOLD (IAG) – which fell by 2.2% to $50.39 and 1.9% to $10.93 per share, respectively.  Among silver stocks, Hecla Mining (HL) slid by 2.5% to $5.73 while Silver Wheaton (SLW) lost 1.0% on its way to $35.27 per share.

Copyright Gold Alert All rights reserved.