Gold Ends Flat On Global Cues

San Francisco (Jan 14)  Gold futures ended a tad higher for a fourth straight session on Wednesday, after some disappointing retail sales data from the U.S., even as investors dug into the safety of the precious metal with most global equity markets in the red.

Gold found support with the dollar weakening against a basket of some select currencies, following the downbeat economic data from the U.S.

Nonetheless, in early trading, gold leveled off with the dollar at a new 9-year peak near $1.18 versus the euro, amid expectations the Federal Reserve will hike interest rates in the first half of 2015.

In some disappointing economic news, U.S. retail sales fell much more than anticipated in December, partly reflecting the recent drop in gasoline prices, a Commerce Department report showed Wednesday. Meanwhile, a separate report from the Labor Department showed falling fuel prices contributed to another substantial decrease in U.S. import prices for December.

The Federal Reserve is scheduled to release its Beige Book Report at 2 pm ET. The report is expected to show anecdotal evidence that the U.S. recovery is gathering steam.

Meanwhile noted investor Marc Faber said Tuesday he expects gold prices to rise by 30 percent in 2015.

"My belief is that the big surprise this year is that investor confidence in central banks collapses. And when that happens - I can't short central banks, although I'd really like to, and the only way to short them is to go long gold, silver and platinum," he said.

Gold for February delivery, the most actively traded contract, inched up $0.10 to settle at $1,234.50 an ounce on the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange on Wednesday.

Gold for February delivery scaled an intraday high of $1,244.60 and a low of $1,224.90 an ounce.

On Tuesday, gold prices ended at $1,234.40 an ounce, up $1.60 or 0.1 percent, with investors seeking the safety of precious metal as U.S. equity markets continued to fluctuate on plummeting oil prices.

Holdings of SPDR Gold Trust, the world's largest gold-backed exchange-traded fund, remained unchanged at 707.82 tons from its previous close.

Source: RTTnews