Metals Stocks: Gold prices finish higher and hold onto tight range above $2,000 an ounce

by | Apr 20, 2023 | Stock Market

Gold finished higher on Thursday, with prices holding onto a tight trading range above the key $2,000-an-ounce threshold. Investors weighed the outlook for interest rates as the Federal Reserve continued its efforts to cool inflation.

Price action
Gold futures for June delivery

gained $11.80, or 0.6%, to settle at $2,019.10 an ounce on Comex after losing 0.6% on Wednesday.

May silver

ended nearly flat at $25.37 an ounce.

June palladium
dropped $30.10, or 1.9%, to $1,588.70 an ounce, while July platinum
gained $1.90, or 0.2%, to $1,107.60 an ounce.

Copper for May
delivery fell by 5 cents, or 1.3%, to $4.03 a pound.

Market drivers Concerns about an imminent recession have eased enough to take gold off the boil, precious-metals strategists said. Prices a week ago had settled at $2,055.30 — the second-highest Comex most-active futures contract settlement on record. If the yellow metal is to make another run at its record settlement high from August 2020, “recession concerns would likely need to resurface,” said Marios Hadjikyriacos, a senior investment analyst at XM. On Wednesday, New York Fed President John Williams said the latest economic data shows cooling in inflation and the labor market. Even so, inflation is “still too high and we will use our monetary policy tools to restore price stability,” Williams said, without being more specific. On Thursday, the Philadelphia Fed said its gauge of regional business activity slumped to negative 31.3 in April from negative 23.2 in the prior month. Separate data showed that the number of Americans who applied for unemployment benefits last week rose by 5,000 to 245,000, pointing to a slight erosion in the robust U.S. labor market. Against that backdrop, the U.S. dollar eased back after strengthening Wednesday. The ICE U.S. Dollar index
was down 0.1% at 101.82 in Thursday dealings, still trading 0.3% higher for the week. For gold, the U.S. dollar is “certainly part of the equation,” but the metal may be “stalling primarily on the basis of ‘groupthink’ and anchoring bias among metals investors,” said Adam Koos, president at Libertas Wealth Management Group. Gold has seen prices in this current range at two major times in history — at the August 2020 highs and at the March 2022 highs, he told MarketWatch. “There are many people who purchased gold at either of those points who are now essentially back to break even, so they cut bait, hit the sell button, and prices stall and fall.” The question is how many sellers there are, Koos said, but the bigger question is “how many shorts are out there just waiting to cover and push prices higher if gold breaks out to all-time highs?”   Gold could break down, but “observing momentum all while keeping inflation, interest rates and the dollar in mind, probabilities are that it ultimately resolves higher over time,” Koos said.

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