Investing.com - Gold ended Friday’s session at the highest level in almost three-weeks, as concerns over escalating violence in Iraq boosted demand for safe-haven assets.
On the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange, gold for August delivery rose to a session high of $1,278.10 a troy ounce, the most since May 27, before coming off the highs to settle at $1,274.10, up 0.01%, or 10 cents.
On Thursday, the precious metal rallied 1.01%, or $12.80, to end at $1,274.0. Gold prices were likely to find support at $1,250.10, the low from June 10 and resistance at $1,294.70, the high from May 27.
On the week, Comex gold advanced 1.69%, or $21.60 an ounce, the second consecutive weekly gain.
Gold traders continued to monitor events in Iraq as militants linked to al-Qaeda threatened to take Baghdad after capturing key cities elsewhere in the country earlier in the week.
On Friday, U.S. President Barack Obama said the U.S. won''t send in troops to the Middle Eastern country quell the insurgency.
Gold is often considered a haven during times of geopolitical turmoil.
Elsewhere, in the U.S., data released Friday showed that that U.S. consumer sentiment unexpectedly deteriorated in June.
The preliminary reading of the University of Michigan''s consumer sentiment index for June came in at 81.2, down from 81.9 in May, missing expectations for an uptick to 83.0.
The report came a day after data showed that U.S. retail sales rose less than expected in May, but the previous month was revised higher.
The Commerce Department said Thursday that U.S. retail sales rose 0.3% in May, falling short of expectations for a 0.6% gain. However, retail sales for April were revised up to a 0.5% gain from a previously reported increase of 0.1%.
In the week ahead, investors will be focusing on the outcome of Wednesday’s Federal Reserve policy meeting.
Data from the Commodities Futures Trading Commission released Friday showed that hedge funds and money managers slightly increased their bullish bets in gold futures in the week ending June 10.
Net longs totaled 51,280 contracts, up 0.4% from net longs of 51,064 in the preceding week.
Also on the Comex, silver for July delivery advanced 0.62%, or 12.2 cents, on Friday to settle the week at $19.65 a troy ounce, the most since May 22. The July silver futures contract climbed 3.35%, or 66.0 cents, on the week.
Data from the CFTC showed that net silver shorts declined to 6,123 contracts as of last week, compared to net shorts of 10,602 contracts in the preceding week.
Elsewhere in metals trading, copper for July delivery inched up 0.46%, or 1.4 cents, on Friday to settle the week at $3.029 a pound by close of trade.
Data released Friday showed that industrial production in China rose at an annual rate of 8.8% last month, in line with expectations, after an increase of 8.7% in April.
Despite Friday’s modest gains, Comex copper prices still lost 0.72%, or 2.2 cents a pound as traders continued to fret over the outcome of a Chinese investigation into commodities-fueled financing deals that could hurt demand for the industrial metal.
The Asian nation is the world’s largest copper consumer, accounting for almost 40% of world consumption last year.
According to the CFTC, net copper longs totaled 5,107 contracts as of last week, down 68.5% from net longs of 16,240 in the preceding week.
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