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Post: Metals Stocks: Gold and silver futures rally; copper hits 2-month peak on China reopening speculation

Gold and silver advanced Friday, with the white metal finishing the session at its highest price in a month, as the U.S. dollar pulled back in the wake of the October jobs report.

Copper prices rose to the highest settlement in over two months as rumors of an end to China’s zero-COVID policy sent industrial metals higher.

Price action
  • Gold prices for December

    delivery gained $45.70, or 2.8%, to $1,676.60 per ounce. Prices based on the most-active contract ended 1.9% higher for the week, after posting a loss of nearly 0.7% last week, according to Dow Jones Market Data.

  • Silver prices for December

    delivery advanced $1.35, or 6.9%, to $20.784 per ounce, the highest level for a most-active contract since Oct. 4. Silver prices were up over 8.5% for the week.

  • Palladium prices for December

    delivery gained $41.40, or 2.3%, to $1,839.50 per ounce, but lost 3% for the week. Platinum prices

    for January delivery advanced $36.40, or 3.9%, to $960.50 per ounce, ending 1.2% higher for the week.

  • Copper prices for December

    delivery gained 26 cents, or 7.6%, to $3.6865 per pound, the highest settlement since August 26 and largest one-day percentage gain since February 2009. It booked a weekly gain of 7.5%.

What’s happening

The U.S. economy gained a surprisingly strong 261,000 new jobs in October, the government said Friday. Economists polled by The Wall Street Journal had forecast 205,000 new jobs. Still, the increase in hiring was the smallest since April 2021.

Following the data, the ICE U.S. Dollar index

fell by 1.9% to 110.81, helping to provide support for dollar-denominated precious metals. Treasury yields, however, edged higher. Higher Treasury yields can spell weakness for gold, which like other commodities offers no yield.

Gold prices added to their overnight gains after the release of the report, “as analysis are saying this is a Goldilocks report that is ‘not too hot and not too cold’,” said Jim Wyckoff, senior analyst at Kitco.com, in market commentary.

That means “it is not too strong to prompt the Federal Reserve to become more aggressive in tightening its monetary policy, nor is it too weak to cause more concern about a U.S. economic recession,” said Wyckoff.

Even so, Jeff Wright, chief investment officer at Wolfpack Capital, told MarketWatch, that the bias for gold is “to the downside [versus] the upside on any meaningful directional move.”

Gold has been range bound in the $1,600s for awhile, he said. “I do not see a compelling case to allocate more capital to gold at the present time nor a situation to liquidate either,” said Wright.

The market is anticipating a lower pace of interest rate increases, with December probably at 50 basis points, he said. The Fed has “made the case inflation must be contained even if the trade off is a weaker employment market.”

The central bank approved the fourth straight jumbo increase in a key U.S. interest rate — 0.75 percentage points to a range of 3.75% to 4% — on Wednesday and signaled rates are likely to go higher than previously forecast.

On Friday, Boston Fed President Susan Collins said “it is premature to signal how high rates should go.”

Copper prices settled at the highest level since August 26 as hopes continue to build for a potential relaxation of the country’s strict measures aimed at curbing the spread of COVID-19.

Analysts said speculation that China may ease its pandemic restrictions lifted demand expectations for the industrial metal.

“There will be good physical demand in China, India, and all over Asia next week if [the copper] price remains firm,” Chintan Karnani, director of research at Insignia Consultants in New Delhi, told MarketWatch. Physical buyers of copper will “check the sustainability of current price rise, wait for a few days and then decide to buy.”

— Isabel Wang contributed to this article.

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