Gold futures prices tipped higher early Friday ahead of a jobs report that most analysts think will reinforce the picture of a solid labor market but won’t likely sway the Federal Reserve from its newfound ‘patient’ policy stance.

April gold

GCJ9, +0.02%

added 80 cents, or 0.1%, at $1,325.90 an ounce. March silver

SIH9, -0.29%

 fell 6 cents, or 0.4%, at $16.005 an ounce, with prices up 3.3% for January.

Gold prices gained about 3% last month, tallying a fourth straight monthly gain, in large part as the Fed left interest-rates unchanged and as it employed language in its statement that it would be “patient,” hinting at a momentary pause in monetary tightening — a bullish development for bullion prices, as it depresses the dollar. Gold’s gains were limited in part because stock market bulls also rejoiced in the Fed’s shift. Stocks were subdued early Friday ahead of the report due 8:30 a.m. Eastern.

The gold-backed SPDR Gold Shares exchange-traded fund

GLD, +0.05%

 was up 0.1% and the iShares Silver Trust

SLV, +0.00%

 slipped 0.3%.

Economists polled by MarketWatch estimated that the U.S. created a more subdued 172,000 jobs in January after a particularly robust hiring binge in December. Recent worries about the economy and the partial government shutdown could emerge in this data. Market participants and economists are likely to discount the absolute figures from the Labor Department given the shutdown.

Wage growth may be a key focus for investors after the Fed emphasized the importance of coming data in informing its rate-hike decision making. Hourly pay, for example, increased at a 3.2% pace in the 12 months ended in December, while the employment cost index, rose 2.9% in 2018, marking the biggest gain since 2008.

“History overwhelmingly suggests the Fed will be easing policy within three to six months. Once this inflection in Fed policy officially hits the tape, gold should have already commenced what we expect to be a significant and sustained advance,” said Trey Reik, senior portfolio manage at Sprott Asset Management.

Meanwhile, President Trump on Thursday suggested another high-level meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping was in the cards as trade negotiations between Washington and Beijing continued. Positive trade developments could cool some demand for haven gold and silver.

Providing critical information for the U.S. trading day. Subscribe to MarketWatch’s free Need to Know newsletter. Sign up here.

Source link