Gold extends losses on fiscal uncertainty, strong U.S. data

Shutterstock photo - Gold prices briefly hit 4-month lows in afternoon U.S. trading Thursday after solid growth and factory data in the U.S. steered investors largely to equities, sidestepping gold in a muted risk-on trading session clouded by fiscal uncertainty.

Investors also sold as part of year-end trading strategies to invest elsewhere on sentiment the yellow metal has risen enough on Federal Reserve easing measures this year.

On the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange, gold futures for February delivery were down 1.18% at USD1,647.95 a troy ounce in U.S. trading, up from a session low of USD1,636.65 and down from a high of USD1,672.75 a troy ounce.

Gold futures were likely to test support USD1,636.65 a troy ounce, the earlier low, and resistance at USD1,677.85, Wednesday's high.

Risk-on assets rose after official data released earlier showed that manufacturing activity in the Philadelphia-region expanded at its fastest pace in eight months in December.

The Philly Fed manufacturing index rose to 8.1 in December from -10.7 in November, compared to expectations for a reading of -3.0.

Elsewhere, the National Association of Realtors reported earlier that existing home sales rose by 5.9% to a seasonally adjusted 5.04 million units in November, beating market calls for U.S. existing home sales to rise 2.3% to 4.87 million units.

Revised government data showed that the U.S. economy grew by an annualized 3.1% in the third quarter of this year, up from a preliminary estimates of 2.7% and also above market calls for 2.8% growth.

On the labor front, the U.S. Department of Labor reported that weekly initial jobless claims last week rose by 17,000 to 361,000, compared to expectations for an increase of 13,000 to 357,000.

Gold, however, fell as investors sold on sentiments Federal Reserve easing measures have sent the yellow metal climbing to heights ripe for extended profit-taking.

Fiscal uncertainty in the U.S. marked by a congressional budgetary impasse crimped gold's demand as well on sentiments inflationary pressures won't emerge soon, a normal catalyst for gold rallies.

Failure to prevent tax hikes from taking effect at the end of this year right when automatic spending cuts are due to take effect could tip the U.S. economy into a recession.

Meanwhile on the Comex, silver for March delivery was down 3.63% and trading at USD29.985 a troy ounce, while copper for March delivery was down 1.96% and trading at USD3.535 a pound.

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The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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