Gold firms with stocks, still headed for monthly drop
LONDON (Reuters) - Gold rose to its highest in a week on Wednesday, as stock markets firmed and the dollar weakened ahead of a re-opening of New York markets, but were on track to end a four-month winning streak as October drew to a close.
Prices broke back above $1,720 an ounce as European shares and U.S. stock index futures rose ahead of what may be a volatile session, as Wall Street traders return after a two-day closure following a storm that battered the U.S. east coast.
Spot gold was at $1,719.66 at 1149 GMT, up 0.6 percent, while U.S. gold futures for December rose $8.50 to $1,750.60. The metal remains on course for a monthly drop of more than 3 percent, its first one-month decline since May.
"Gold is up today due to the firmer euro, weaker dollar and firmer European equity markets," Commerzbank analyst Daniel Briesemann said.
Spot prices hit an 11-month high above $1,795 on October 5 after the Federal Reserve unveiled new measures to boost the U.S. economy. These were seen as gold-friendly, as they stoked inflation concerns while maintaining pressure on interest rates.
However gold retreated in line with other nominally higher-risk assets such as stocks and other commodities later in the month, as euphoria from the move petered out, with confidence in its rally dented by a failure to break $1,800 an ounce.
Investors are now focusing on a key U.S. jobs report due later this week, analysts said.
As the extent of the monetary stimulus programme has been linked to the health of the jobs market, Friday's U.S. non-farm payrolls report could potentially influence its scope.
A Reuters poll shows the economy is expected to have added 125,000 jobs last month, though the unemployment rate is seen at 7.9 percent, against 7.8 percent the previous month.
Mitsui Precious Metals analyst David Jollie said gold was likely to remain in a narrow range in the near term due to uncertainty before next week's U.S. election.
"People are not keen to add risk to their portfolios ahead of that," Jollie said.
UBS said in a daily market report that the recent consolidation of gold prices above $1,700 an ounce was a healthy exercise in preparation for the next leg higher.
"There are those who are still looking for another dip, perhaps one that offers an opportunity to jump in sub-$1700, between now and year-end," it said.
"The clear downtrend from earlier in the month has now been replaced by this consolidation phase. But the possibility of another attempt on the downside certainly cannot be ruled out, especially with U.S. nonfarm payrolls coming up and the U.S. elections looming."
Gold importers remained cautious, as prices continued to be supported by a weaker rupee and firm overseas markets ahead of festivals.
India's festival season peaks in November with Diwali, the Hindu festival of lights. Weddings also take place at this time, with gold jewellery part of the dowry daughters receive from their parents. <GOL/IN>
Spot platinum was up 1.4 percent at $1,568.75 an ounce and palladium was up 2 percent at $605.47 an ounce. Silver was up 1.4 percent at $32.24 an ounce.
Thursday sees the release of U.S. manufacturing PMIs, strength in which would be likely to benefit industrial precious metals, Briesemann at Commerzbank said.
(Editing by Anthony Barker)
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