Gold ends modestly lower, but manages weekly gain

May 17, 2014

New York (May 17)  Gold settled slightly lower on Friday as U.S. jobs and factory data indicated brighter prospects for the economy, hurting the metal's appeal as an investment hedge.

Bullion was weighed by a blitz of strong U.S. economic figures.

On Friday, data showed that housing starts surged by more than 13 percent in April, with building permits hitting a six-year high.

A day earlier, new applications for U.S. unemployment benefits hit a seven-year low last week while consumer prices recorded their largest increase in 10 months in April. Factory activity in New York state expanded at its quickest pace in nearly four years in May.

U.S. gold futures for June delivery settled 20 cents lower at $1,293.40 an ounce. The metal rose 0.3 percent for the week on earlier gains from political uncertainty in Ukraine, which has increased tensions between Russia and the West.

Spot gold, meanwhile, eased 0.2 percent to $1,292 an ounce, after dropping 0.7 percent on Thursday.

Gold is often seen as a safe-haven investment compared with riskier assets such as equities.

Investor interest perked up with SPDR Gold Trust, the world's biggest gold-backed exchange-traded fund, showing a modest increase in flows. Holdings in the fund rose 1.79 tonnes to 782.25 tonnes on Thursday - the first inflow in a month.

U.S. data also showed that hedge fund Paulson & Co in Q1 maintained its stake in SPDR as bullion prices rebounded from their biggest annual loss in 32 years in 2013, while PIMCO dissolved its gold ETF investment.

Platinum was gained 1.7 percent for the week on supply worries from prolonged strikes in top producer South Africa, while palladium was also poised for a weekly jump

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