Investing.com - Gold futures edged higher in rangebound trade on Friday to cap a fourth straight weekly gain, as investors bet that the Federal Reserve will keep interest rates at record-low levels for a considerable time.
On the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange, gold for August delivery tacked on 0.23%, or $3.00, to end the week at $1,320.00 a troy ounce.
Gold prices were likely to find support at $1,305.40, the low from June 25 and resistance at $1,326.60, the high from June 24.
On the week, Comex gold advanced 0.25%, or $3.40 an ounce, the fourth consecutive weekly gain.
Upbeat U.S. consumer sentiment data released Friday failed to dispel concerns over the outlook for the wider economic recovery.
The final reading of the University of Michigan''s consumer sentiment index rose to 82.5 this month from 81.9 in May, compared to expectations of 82.2.
The report did little to alter expectations that the Federal Reserve will keep rates on hold for an extended period after data earlier in the week showed that U.S. first quarter growth was revised sharply lower.
The Commerce Department said Wednesday that the U.S. economy contracted at an annual rate of 2.9% in the first three months of the year, compared to the consensus forecast for a decline of 1.7%.
U.S. first quarter GDP was initially reported to have increased by 0.1%, but was subsequently revised to show a contraction of 1.0%.
The U.S. dollar index, which tracks the performance of the greenback versus a basket of six other major currencies, ended the week at 80.08, the lowest level since May 21.
Dollar weakness usually benefits gold, as it boosts the metal''s appeal as an alternative asset and makes dollar-priced commodities cheaper for holders of other currencies.
In the week ahead, investors will be looking to the U.S. nonfarm payrolls report on Thursday for further indications on the strength of the labor market, while the European Central Bank policy meeting and press conference on Thursday will also be in focus.
Data from the Commodities Futures Trading Commission released Friday showed that hedge funds and money managers significantly increased their bullish bets in gold futures in the week ending June 24.
Net longs totaled 114,356 contracts, up 41.8% from net longs of 66,572 in the preceding week.
Also on the Comex, silver for September delivery dipped 0.13%, or 2.8 cents, on Friday to settle the week at $21.13 a troy ounce. Prices rallied to $21.25 earlier in the session, the most since March 18.
Despite Friday’s modest decline, the September silver futures contract rose 0.89%, or 19.0 cents, on the week.
Data from the CFTC showed that net silver longs totaled 24,757 contracts as of last week, compared to net longs of 5,134 contracts in the preceding week.
Elsewhere in metals trading, copper for September delivery rose to a daily high of $3.189 a pound on Friday, the most since May 28, before turning lower to settle at $3.168, down 0.13%, or 0.4 cents.
On the week, Comex copper prices rose 1.48%, or 4.7 cents a pound, the second consecutive weekly advance.
According to the CFTC, net copper longs totaled 14,325 contracts as of last week, compared to net shorts of 313 contracts in the preceding week.
Copper traders will be looking ahead to key manufacturing data out of China due on Tuesday. The Asian nation is the world’s largest copper consumer, accounting for almost 40% of world consumption.
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