GOLD PRICE NEWS – The gold price turned modestly lower on Friday as financial markets continued to be whipsawed by a myriad of developments regarding the looming U.S. fiscal cliff.  The spot price of gold held in a very narrow range between $1,60 and $1,667 per ounce in overnight trading, but this morning dropped by $8.20, or 0.5%, to $1,656.35 after two better than expected U.S. economic reports.  In doing so, gold prices remained near unchanged for the week and risked posting their fifth consecutive weekly decline.

Silver fell in conjunction with the gold price, by $0.25, or 0.8%, to $30.01 per ounce.  With the retreat, the price of silver turned down by 0.8% this week and put itself on pace for its fifth straight weekly loss as well.

Gold stocks held up better than the price of gold and the broader equity markets, as the sector oscillated between gains and losses this morning.  The Market Vectors Gold Miners ETF (GDX) traded near unchanged at $45.43 per share while the S&P 500 Index slid 0.6% to 1,409.96.

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Two of the better performing GDX components on Friday were Goldcorp (GG) and Yamana Gold (AUY) – which climbed by 0.6% o $36.23 and by 0.7% to $17.00 per share, respectively.  On the downside, Newmont Mining (NEM) fell 0.3% to $45.35 and Randgold Resources (GOLD) slipped by 0.6% to $97.15 per share.

As for the ongoing fiscal cliff saga, the latest development included a planned meeting at 3pm ET between President Barack Obama and Congressional leaders.  There, policymakers are expected to make a last-ditch effort to come to some sort of an agreement over higher tax rates for wealthier Americans.  However, the definition of wealthy continues to vary substantially between Republicans and Democrats, and this has become one of the most significant obstacles to avoiding the fiscal cliff.

While politicians in Washington remain divided on many critical financial issues, two encouraging economic data points helped pressure the price of gold.  Pending home sales for November showed a 1.7% increase, easily beating the 1.0% consensus estimate among economists.  The Chicago Purchasing Managers’ Index, a key manufacturing survey of activity in the Midwest, came in at 51.6, also above the 51.0 level economists were expecting.

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