Investing.com - Gold ended Friday’s session nearly unchanged in volatile trade, after the highly-anticipated U.S. nonfarm payrolls report for May came in broadly in line with market expectations.
On the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange, gold for August delivery declined 0.06%, or 80 cents, to settle at $1,252.50 by close of trade on Friday. Prices traded in a range between $1,245.70 and $1,258.20 an ounce.
Gold prices were likely to find support at $1,240.20 an ounce, the low from June 3 and resistance at $1,261.50, the high from May 29.
The Department of Labor reported that the U.S. economy added 217,000 jobs last month, just under expectations for jobs growth of 218,000. The unemployment rate remained steady at a five-and-a-half year low of 6.3%.
The data disappointed some market expectations for a more robust reading but indicated that the Federal Reserve is likely to stick to the current pace of reductions to its asset purchase program.
Despite Friday’s lackluster performance, Comex gold advanced 0.51%, or $6.50 an ounce on the week, thanks to strong gains recorded on Thursday following the European Central Bank’s decision to unveil fresh stimulus measures.
The ECB cut the main refinancing rate in the euro area to a record low 0.15% and imposed negative deposit rates on commercial lenders, in a bid to stimulate lending to businesses.
The central bank also implemented a new Long-Term Refinancing Operation, designed to help banks lend to small companies and said it would "intensify" its preparatory work on the ''asset-backed security'' market.
In the week ahead, investors will be looking ahead to Thursday’s U.S. retail sales report for further indications on the strength of the economic recovery.
Comex gold prices have been under heavy selling pressure in recent weeks as upbeat U.S. economic data underlined the view that the economy is shaking off the effects of a weather-related slowdown over the winter.
Data from the Commodities Futures Trading Commission released Friday showed that hedge funds and money managers significantly decreased their bullish bets in gold futures in the week ending June 3.
Net longs totaled 51,064 contracts, down 25.3% from net longs of 68,393 in the preceding week. Prices hit an 18-week low of $1,240.20 an ounce on June 3.
Also on the Comex, silver for July delivery shed 0.48%, or 9.2 cents, on Friday to settle the week at $18.99 a troy ounce. Despite Friday’s losses, the July silver futures contract still rose 1.63%, or 31.0 cents, on the week.
Data from the CFTC showed that net silver shorts rose to 10,602 contracts as of last week, compared to net shorts of 6,997 contracts in the preceding week.
Elsewhere in metals trading, copper for July delivery tumbled 1.28%, or 3.9 cents, on Friday to settle the week at $3.051 a pound by close of trade, the lowest since May 7.
On the week, Comex copper prices lost 3.66%, or 11.6 cents a pound, as Chinese authorities continue to investigate whether companies used the same copper, aluminum and iron ore stocks held in the port of Qingdao as collateral for multiple loans.
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 16,240 contracts as of last week, down 23.8% from net longs of 21,315 in the preceding week.
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