Investing.com - " Gold futures ended Friday's session at a five-week high, after weaker-than-expected U.S. economic data fueled speculation the Federal Reserve will maintain its stimulus program well into 2014 to support the economy.
On the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange, gold futures for December delivery edged up 0.16% on Friday to settle the week at USD1,352.50 a troy ounce.
Comex gold prices rose to a session high of USD1,356.40 a troy ounce earlier in the day, the strongest level since September 20. The December contract rallied 1.22% on Thursday to settle at USD1,350.30 a troy ounce.
Gold futures were likely to find support at USD1,310.10 a troy ounce, the low from October 22 and near-term resistance at USD1,366.50, the high from September 20.
On the week, the precious metal gained 2.8%, the second consecutive weekly advance.
Gold prices were boosted after official data on Friday showed that core durable goods orders declined for the third consecutive month in September, while another report showed that U.S. consumer sentiment fell to the lowest level in almost a year this month.
The disappointing data underlined expectations that the Fed will delay tapering its stimulus program until next year amid concerns over the impact of the 16-day U.S. government shutdown on the economic recovery.
The central bank is scheduled to begin its two-day policy-meeting on October 29 to review the economy and assess policy. Market analysts expect the Fed to keep its USD 85 billion-a-month asset purchase program on track.
Gold prices have largely tracked shifting expectations as to whether the Fed would start tapering its USD85-billion-a-month asset-purchase program by the end of the year.
U.S. data releases will also be in focus in the week ahead, with reports on retail sales, inflation figures, pending home sales and private-sector jobs growth all on tap.
Gold traders have closely been looking out for U.S. data reports recently to gauge if they will strengthen or weaken the case for the Fed to reduce its bond purchases.
Elsewhere on the Comex, silver for December delivery dropped 0.8% on Friday to settle the week at USD22.63 a troy ounce. Silver prices settled 0.91% higher at USD22.82 on Thursday.
On the week, silver future prices rose 3.18%, the second consecutive weekly gain.
Meanwhile, copper for December delivery inched up 0.17% on Friday to close the week at USD3.269 a pound. On Thursday, copper futures shed 0.12% to settle at USD3.263 a pound.
Prices of the red metal lost 0.9% on the week, amid growing concerns over tightening liquidity conditions in the Chinese banking sector.
Copper traders are looking ahead to the release of key manufacturing data out of China later in the week.
China is the world's largest copper consumer, accounting for almost 40% of world consumption last year.
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