Gold fell 1 percent on Thursday, hitting a four-month bottom below its recent trading range, as Wall Street stocks rose and the U.S. dollar strengthened on optimism about passage of a U.S. tax overhaul. Spot gold dropped 1 percent to $1,251.11 an ounce by 2 p.m. EST (1900 GMT), bouncing off a four-month low of $1,250.51. U.S. gold futures for February delivery settled down $13, 1 percent, at $1,253.10 per ounce. Gold broke out of its recent trading range this week after slipping below its $1,267 200-day moving average. Since mid-October, prices had stayed between $1,265 and $1,300 an ounce as investors poured money into the stock market, which hit a series of record highs. The stock market gains dicouraged gold buying, as did expectations that the Federal Reserve would raise U.S. interest rates this month. “From a technical point of view, many traders had stop-losses just below $1,262, and today the market is going down for this reason,” said ActivTrades chief analyst Carlo Alberto de Casa.
A stronger U.S. dollar also sparked selling of gold, he said. The dollar touched a two-week high on Thursday on optimism the United States would push through a Republican tax package by a Dec. 22 deadline. Financial markets will watch U.S. non-farm payrolls data Friday, a key barometer of the U.S. economy. Next week the U.S. Federal Reserve is expected to announce a rise in interest rates and offer guidance on the pace of further increases.
“The question is whether this weakness in gold is an image of the December 2015 and 2016 charts, where the metals began significant rallies after the rate increase announcement, or if we are in a different paradigm this time around,” Kitco Metals Inc said in a note. Rising U.S. interest rates increase the opportunity cost of holding non-yielding gold while boosting the dollar, in which it is priced. “In 2018, we’re looking at a $1,325 price target,” said George Gero, managing director of RBC Wealth Management in New York.