Gold, silver extend gains as violence in eastern Ukraine intensifies

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Investing.com - Gold and silver prices rallied on Monday, as escalating tensions over the crisis in Ukraine underpinned demand for traditional safe-haven assets.

On the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange, gold for June delivery rose to a daily high of $1,315.10 a troy ounce, the most since April 15.

Gold last traded at $1,313.00 an ounce during U.S. morning hours, up 0.78%, or $10.10. Futures rose 1.52%, or $19.50 an ounce on Friday to settle at $1,302.90.

Gold prices were likely to find support at $1,272.00 an ounce, the low from May 2 and resistance at $1,326.90, the high from April 15.

Meanwhile, silver for July delivery advanced 0.68%, or 13.2 cents, to trade at $19.67 a troy ounce. Silver ended Friday's session up 2.64%, or 50.3 cents, to settle at $19.54 an ounce.

Silver was likely to find support at $18.90 an ounce, the low from May 2 and resistance at $19.78, the high from April 28.

Demand for safe haven assets strengthened amid reports of heavy fighting between government forces and pro-Russian rebels in Slovyansk, Eastern Ukraine.

Market players are concerned that hostilities between Kiev and Russia will escalate further and drag the U.S. deeper into the standoff.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry threatened Russia with additional sanctions on Sunday, unless the country stopped backing separatists in eastern Ukraine.

Gold and silver, seen as a safe haven investments, usually benefit from geopolitical turmoil.

Meanwhile, market players continued to assess a report showing that the U.S. economy added jobs at the fastest pace in more than two years in April, but also showed weaker earnings growth and a drop in labor force participation.

The Labor Department reported Friday that the U.S. economy added 288,000 jobs in April, well above expectations for jobs growth of 210,000. The U.S. unemployment rate dropped to a five-and-a-half year low of 6.3%, compared to expectations for 6.6%.

But optimism was tempered after the report also showed that the labor force participation rate, which measures the proportion of people either working or looking for work, fell to 62.8% from 63.2% in March. Meanwhile, average wage growth edged lower in April from the same month a year earlier, dampening the medium term inflation outlook.

Elsewhere in metals trading, copper for July delivery shed 0.3%, or 0.9 cents, to trade at $3.061 a pound.

Data released earlier showed that China's final HSBC Purchasing Managers Index ticked down to 48.1 in April from a preliminary reading of 48.3 and below expectations for a reading of 48.4.

The report indicated that China's manufacturing sector contracted for the fourth consecutive month in April, underlining concerns that an economic slowdown in the world's second-largest economy is deepening

The Asian nation is the world's largest copper consumer, accounting for almost 40% of world consumption last year.

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