NEW YORK, June 18 (Reuters) - U.S. gold futures raced up to a record level on Friday and settled at its highest close ever as investors continued to buy precious metals as an alternative asset after several weak U.S. economic readings and renewed worries about the pace of recovery, traders said.
* For the latest detailed report, click on [GOL/].
* U.S. gold futures for August deliveryon the COMEX division of the NYMEX climbed to a record at $1,263.70, and settled up $9.60 at $1,258.30, its highest ever close.
* Gold continued its rise on follow-through buying after closing Thursday at a record closing high - traders.
* Investors sought gold as an alternative investment as economic uncertainty continues to muddle the outlook for interest rates and share prices - analysts.
* "I think it is a case of gold's ability to compete with both credit and equity markets for investments. Competing with credit markets has been in play for a long time, because of low interest rates and low opportunity cost of holding gold," said Tom Pawlicki, precious metals analyst at MF GLOBAL in Chicago.
* Weakness shown in the latest U.S. economic data on Thursday renewed investor anxiety about the pace of recovery, and their desire to hold gold as a safe haven asset -analysts.
* Philadelphia Federal Reserve's June factory activity index tumbled in June [ID:nN17313258], and first-time filings by unemployed U.S. workers rose in the latest week. [ID:nN17316909].
* "The data yesterday from initial claims and Philadelphia Fed was another thing indicating to investors that the economic recovery will be subpar compared with other recession recoveries. That makes gold more attractive," Pawlicki added.
* The euro's rise to a near three week high against the dollar also helped propel gold higher - traders.
* Analysts said gold was reverting to its more traditional relationship by rallying with the euro, which tends to happen when the yellow metal is purchased in overseas markets.
* The euro headed for its biggest weekly gain in more than a year as investors debated its outlook, while awaiting results of European bank stress tests. [USD/]
* Open interest in gold futures also began to pick up in the last few sessions - traders.
* "Open interest is still below the peak from mid-May. Usually you see open interest following along with the prices, but that just hasn't been the case. Now that we're making new highs you may see that change," said Pawlicki.
* Gold's strong close on Thursday at $1,250.50, was a strongly bullish signal and lead to more buying at the start on Friday -chartists.
* A near-term target sits at $1,264 an ounce - chartists.
* COMEX estimated final gold futures volume at a 104,755 lots.
* Spot goldhit an all-time high of $1,261.90 an ounce, but was bid at $1,256.65 an ounce at 3:20 p.m. EDT (1920 GMT), against $1,243.40 late on Thursday.
* London afternoon gold fixset higher at $1,256.0 an ounce.
* COMEX July silversoared 40.80 cents to close at $19.1840 an ounce.
* Higher range ran from $18.6850 an ounce to $19.2750, its highest since May 17.
* Silver was rallying with gold as a financial asset.
* COMEX estimated final volume at 47,928 lots.
* Spot silvertracked gold higher to a four-week peak of $19.24 an ounce.
* Late in the session it pulled off the highs to trade around $19.16 an ounce against $18.67 late Thursday.
* London silver fixwas set sharply higher at $18.77 per ounce.
* NYMEX July platinumrose $15.0 an ounce to finish at $1,587.0 an ounce.
* Spot platinumadvanced to $1,588 an ounce from $1,574 in late Thursday trade.
* September palladiumjumped $10.15 to end at $491.40 an ounce.
* Spot palladiumwas higher at $487 than $479.50 late Thursday.
* Both PGMs hit a one-month highs during the session. Prices at 3:32 p.m. CDT (2016 GMT)
LAST/ NET PCT YTD
CLOSE CHG CHG CHG US gold1258.30 9.60 0.8% 14.8% US silver 19.184 0.408 0.0% 13.9% US platinum 1587.00 15.00 1.0% 7.9% US palladium 491.40 10.15 2.1% 20.2% Gold 1256.55 13.15 1.1% 14.6% Silver 19.15 0.48 2.6% 13.7% Platinum 1588.50 14.50 0.9% 8.4% Palladium 488.00 8.50 1.8% 20.3% Gold Fix 1256.00 12.00 1.0% 13.8% Silver Fix 18.77 27.00 1.5% 10.5% Platinum Fix 1578.00 7.00 0.4% 7.6% Palladium Fix 484.00 6.00 1.3% 20.4% (Reporting by Carole Vaporean;Editing by Sofina Mirza-Reid )
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