Gold fluctuates between gains and losses; Fed outlook in focus

Shutterstock photo - Gold futures swung between modest gains and losses during U.S. morning hours on Monday, as Friday's modest U.S. nonfarm payroll data dampened speculation that the Federal Reserve may end its quantitative easing program before the end of the year.

On the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange, gold futures for February delivery traded at USD1,647.55 a troy ounce during U.S. morning trade, down 0.1% on the day.

Prices held in a range between USD1,643.25 a troy ounce, the daily low and a session high of USD1,662.55 a troy ounce. Gold futures fell to USD1,626.05 a troy ounce on January 4, the lowest level since August 21.

Gold prices were likely to find support at USD1,626.05 a troy ounce, the low from January 4 and resistance at USD1,690.55, January 3's high.

The U.S. Department of Labor said Friday the economy added 155,000 jobs in December, easing from an increase of 161,000 in November. The unemployment rate held steady at 7.8%.

The jobs report came one day after the minutes from the Fed's December meeting showed that some policymakers considered an earlier-than-expected end to the bank's quantitative easing program.

According to the minutes, several Fed officials thought the central bank would be able to slow or stop its quantitative easing program well before December 2013.

The Fed's quantitative easing program is viewed by many investors as a major source of liquidity that weakens the U.S. dollar and helps support prices of commodities and other hard assets, including gold.

Meanwhile, focus remained on how U.S. lawmakers will deal with the upcoming debt ceiling debate.

U.S. lawmakers passed a last-minute bill to avoid the fiscal cliff last week, a series of looming tax increases and spending cuts that could have pushed the U.S. economy back into a recession.

But investors remained jittery over the longer term fiscal outlook, with negotiations on raising the U.S. debt ceiling still to come in February.

Investors will also be watching a policy meeting by the European Central Bank later in the week to see if the central bank will modify its benchmark interest rate.

Elsewhere on the Comex, silver for March delivery added 0.25% to trade at USD30.02 a troy ounce, while copper for March delivery shed 0.8% to trade at USD3.665 a pound. - offers an extensive set of professional tools for the Forex, Commodities, Futures and the Stock Market including real-time data streaming, a comprehensive economic calendar, as well as financial news and technical & fundamental analysis by in-house experts.

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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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