Gold rebounds to kick off 2015

Chicago (Jan 3)  Gold futures on the COMEX division of the New York Mercantile Exchange rose on Friday on weaker U.S. equities even as the U.S. dollar continues its world-beating ways, with the index reaching its highest level in over eight years.

The most active gold contract for February delivery gained 2.1 U.S. dollars, or 0.18 percent, to settle at 1,186.20 dollars per ounce.

Gold rose as the U.S.-based Institute for Supply Management released a worse-than-expected reading of the ISM Manufacturing Index, which measures the general direction of production at manufacturing firms. The composite index fell 3.2 points to 55.5, which analysts say is the slowest monthly growth in six months. New orders dropped to 57.3 from 66.0 in November. This report put pressure on the U.S. equities market, pushing investors toward safe haven gold.

Additionally, a report released by the U.S. Department of Commerce showed construction outlays falling a worse-than-expected 0.3 percent in November after a 1.2 percent increase in October. This was another factor that put pressure on U.S. equities, which in turn gave the precious metal a boost.

Despite weakening U.S. equities, gold's gains were capped by a stronger-than-expected U.S. dollar, which reached its highest level in more than eight years. Gold and the dollar typically move in opposite directions.

Silver for March delivery gained 16.9 cents, or 1.08 percent, to close at 15.768 dollars per ounce. Platinum for April delivery lost 5.6 dollars, or 0.46 percent, to close at 1,203.90 dollars per ounce.