PRECIOUS-Gold down 1 pct after U.S. jobs data; posts weekly gain

Fri Mar 7, 2014 3:42pm EST

* Gold posts 5th straight weekly gain on Ukraine tensions
    * U.S. nonfarm payroll growth accelerates in February
    * U.S. Treasury yield pares initial gain
    * Coming up: U.S. wholesale inventory/sales data on Tuesday

 (Updates market activities)
    By Frank Tang and Clara Denina 
    NEW YORK/LONDON, March 7 (Reuters) - Gold tumbled nearly 1
percent on Friday after data showed U.S. job growth accelerated
sharply, easing fears of an abrupt economic slowdown and keeping
the Federal Reserve on track to continue reducing its monetary
stimulus.
    Bullion pared some early losses after benchmark 10-year
Treasury yields gave back some gains after initially rising to a
six-week high. Weaker U.S. equities after early advances also
helped lift gold from its lows.  
    Employers added 175,000 jobs to their payrolls last month up
from January's 129,000 new positions, the Labor Department said.
The unemployment rate, however, rose to 6.7 percent from a
five-year low of 6.6 percent, as Americans flooded into the
labor market to search for work. 
    "It's a decent data point but who knows how valid it is
because of the weather and so forth," said Axel Merk, portfolio
manager of California-based Merk Funds, which has more than $400
million in currency mutual fund assets.
    "Ultimately, the Fed is not interested in tightening any
time soon because Yellen says she doesn't think inflation is a
problem," which boosts gold's appeal as a hedge, he said.
    Spot gold fell as much as 1.5 percent to a session
low of $1,329.35 an ounce, and was last trading down 0.9 percent
at $1,338.09 by 3:22 p.m. EST (2022 GMT).
    U.S. COMEX gold futures for April delivery settled
down $13.60 at $1,338.20 an ounce, with trading volume about 30
percent above its 30-day average, preliminary Reuters data
showed.
    The metal, seen as a safe haven, was up 1 percent for the
week to extend its winning streak to five, capitalizing on gains
made earlier in the week when tensions in Ukraine escalated.
    "In the short term, given the better-than-expected data, and
provided nothing happens in Ukraine over the weekend, gold could
fall below $1,330," VTB Capital analyst Andrey Kryuchenkov said.
    On Friday, President Vladimir Putin rebuffed a warning from
U.S. President Barack Obama over Moscow's military intervention
in Crimea, saying that Russia could not ignore calls for help
from Russian speakers in Ukraine. 
    
    PALLADIUM UP ON RUSSIA, S.AFRICA
    Palladium posted its biggest weekly gain in nearly
eight months, with a 5 percent increase. It was last trading up
0.1 percent on the day at $778.25 an ounce, having hit a
one-year high of $781.50 an ounce earlier.
    Political tensions in top producer Russia and union strikes
in second-biggest producer South Africa have triggered fears of
supply constraints. 
    Platinum also notched its second straight weekly
gain, up 2.6 percent. It edged down 35 cents on the day to
$1,477.25. 
    There is no sign of an end to a six-week old platinum strike
in South Africa. Wage talks collapsed earlier this week between
the country's powerful mineworker union AMCU and the world's
three top producers.    
    Silver fell 2.9 percent to $20.82 an ounce.
 3:22 PM EST     LAST/    NET   PCT      LOW    HIGH  CURRENT
                SETTLE   CHNG  CHNG                       VOL
 US Gold APR   1338.20 -13.60  -1.0  1326.60 1353.20  170,799
 US Silver MAR  20.897 -0.645  -3.0   20.760  21.540      199
 US Plat APR   1483.60  -3.20  -0.2  1473.00 1488.20   12,603
 US Pall MAR    781.60   0.65   0.1   772.00  781.55        7
                                                               
 Gold          1338.09 -12.65  -0.9  1330.15 1352.50         
 Silver         20.820 -0.620  -2.9   20.740  21.570
 Platinum      1477.25  -0.35   0.0  1473.00 1484.25
 Palladium      778.25   0.95   0.1   772.50  781.50
                                                               
 TOTAL MARKET              VOLUME          30-D ATM VOLATILITY
                CURRENT   30D AVG  250D AVG   CURRENT     CHG
 US Gold        192,175   141,297   184,490      16.3   -0.52
 US Silver       64,638    74,967    57,736     25.91    0.61
 US Platinum     16,470    10,977    13,002     18.01    0.07
 US Palladium     4,166     8,556     5,654     18.85    2.24
                                                               
    

 (Additional reporting by A. Ananthalakshmi in Singapore;
Editing by Dale Hudson, Susan Fenton, Andrew Hay and Marguerita
Choy)