Gold surges to $1,340
Concerns over the dollar and yen send prices rallying to new highs.
By Alix Steel, TheStreet
Updated at 2:15 p.m. ET
Gold for December delivery settled up $23.50, or 1.8%, to $1,340.30 an ounce at the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange. Gold today traded as high as $1,342.60 and as low as $1,313.30.
A slew of data and announcements highlighting the weakness of global currencies and the health of governments spurred the recent gold rally.
"The weaker dollar, combined with strong physical demand, had created a favorable environment for gold prices to set new highs," said Suki Cooper, a commodities research analyst at Barclays Capital.
The Bank of Japan slashed its interest rate to nearly zero and might create a fund of $60 billion to buy government securities and other assets in hopes of devaluing the yen after it rallied to a 15-year high earlier this year. Australia also kept its interest rate unchanged.
In Europe, Moody's announced it was putting Ireland's Aa2 debt rating under review for a downgrade. This comes a day after the country cut its growth estimates for 2010 and 2011 and as the government is bailing out its financial system.
In the U.S., Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke gave his clearest signal yet that the Fed is ready to expand its balance sheet and buy more government debt in order to jump-start the economy.
Bernanke appeared Monday evening in front of college students in Providence, R.I., where he said "additional (bond) purchases have the ability to ease financial conditions." He also defended the Fed's $1.7 trillion asset purchase program, which began in January 2009.
There is still some uncertainty as to how the Fed will issue another round of quantitative easing -- whether it will be another large-scale, short-term program or a smaller and longer round of purchases.
William Poole, a senior economic adviser at Merk Investments, cautions that "Chairman Bernanke has misled the market before. In a speech in early December 2008, he indicated that the Fed might engage in large-scale purchases of long-term government bonds. . . . No such program was announced at the FOMC meeting later that month."
All this global news was a perfect cocktail for gold prices as they underscored the fragility of paper money. Anytime a government intervenes in its currency market, it points out how quickly paper currency can be devalued and highlights gold as a form of money that retains more worth.
The more U.S. dollars that are printed, the more dollars it takes to value an ounce of gold, which not only raises the metal's worth but also makes it a safer place to preserve one's wealth.
But with gold's pullbacks minimal and its rallies in double digits, it's hard to know how to buy the metal. The popular gold exchange-traded-fund SPDR Gold Shares (GLD) currently holds more than 1,300 tons as investors piled into the metal in September.
Phil Streible, a senior market strategist at Lind-Waldock, is a long-term bull but is recommending that investors stay cautious before buying, especially ahead of Friday's U.S. jobs number. "You have to be cautious as these levels. . . . If you're definitely looking at entering into positions, don't enter up at these levels. . . . Wait for around that $1,300 . . . and go lightly."
Silver prices soared 70 cents, or 3.2%, to settle at $22.74 per ounce, while copper closed up 6 cents at $3.73 per pound.
Gold mining stocks, a risky but sometimes more profitable way to buy gold, were rallying Tuesday. Barrick Gold (ABX) was up 3.4% to $47.55 while Newmont Mining (NEM) was gaining 2.9% to $64.55. Randgold Resources (GOLD) was adding 2.6% at $105.43, and AngloGold Ashanti (AU) was up 2.5% to $47.29.
Copyright © 2013 Microsoft. All rights reserved.
Fundamental company data and historical chart data provided by Morningstar Inc. Real-time index quotes and delayed quotes supplied by Morningstar Inc. Quotes delayed by up to 15 minutes, except where indicated otherwise. Fund summary, fund performance and dividend data provided by Morningstar Inc. Analyst recommendations provided by Zacks Investment Research. StockScouter data provided by Verus Analytics. IPO data provided by Hoover's Inc. Index membership data provided by Morningstar Inc.
[BRIEFING.COM] Equity indices settled on their lows following a steady, session-long slide. Similar to yesterday, small-caps paced the retreat as the Russell 2000 fell 1.6%, extending its December loss to 3.6%. The S&P 500 settled lower by 1.1%, widening its month-to-date decline to 1.3%.
There was no specific news catalyst behind today's slide, which had the markings of broad-based profit-taking. Seven of ten sectors settled with losses of 1.0% or more while only two groups ... More
More Market News
|There’s a problem getting this information right now. Please try again later.|
LATEST MARKET DISPATCHES
- No more Dispatches; here's where to find market news
The Market Dispatches column has been discontinued. Here's where to find the latest stock and business news on MSN Money, and the latest from market writer Charley Blaine.
- Dow falls 59 as late-day gloom kills a rally
- Stocks held back by fiscal-cliff worries
- Stocks suffer worst weekly loss in 5 months
- Dow off 121 as post-election swoon continues
- Dow slumps 313 after Obama's re-election
- Dow jumps 133 as Americans head to the polls
The offering could become the second-biggest this year if underwriters exercise an option to buy more shares.