Appetite for assets perceived as risky also got a fillip amid some signs of softening trade tensions between the U.S. and China, drawing investor attention away from gold.
The U.S. garnered a better-than-expected 312,000 new jobs in December to bring total employment gains in 2018 to a three-year high of 2.64 million, with unemployment rising to 3.9% as labor participation rose. Economists polled by MarketWatch had expected a gain of 182,000 nonfarm jobs.
February gold on Comex GCG9, -0.75% lost $13.10, or 1%, to $1,281.70 an ounce, after the commodity closed 0.8% higher in the prior session to notch a more than six-month high. Tracking the most-active contracts, prices haven’t posted a daily dollar or percentage that big since Nov. 9, according to FactSet data.
For the week, gold futures was down about 0.2%, following gains in each of the last two weeks.
March silver SIH9, -0.14% was also down 10.7 cents, or 0.7%, lower at $15.695 an ounce, with prices up about 1.8% for the week.
“The U.S. dollar is firmer and equities are up along with Treasury yields — all headwinds for gold,” said Michael Armbruster, managing partner at Altavest.
The employment report may solidify the view that the economy is healthy but may also raise the question of how the data influences the Federal Reserve’s rate-hike strategy in the coming months. Higher rates can dull appetite for gold but the threat of rate increases also have roiled risk assets like stocks.
Friday’s jobs report lifted the U.S. dollar, with a measure of the buck, the ICE U.S. Dollar DXY, -0.08% up 0.3% at 96.567, and the Dow Jones Industrial AverageDJIA, +3.41% and the S&P 500 index SPX, +3.44% were holding on to strong gains following the report.
In a panel discussion alongside predecessors Janet Yellen and Ben Bernanke at an event in Atlanta,