Gold futures were steady as investors assessed equities near record highs against signs that improvement in the U.S. job market has stalled.
The number of Americans filing claims for unemployment benefits increased to the highest since early September last week, while orders for U.S. business equipment unexpectedly fell in October, government reports showed today. The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index of equities rose to a record yesterday.
The economic reports today may help ease concern that the Federal Reserve will soon raise interest rates, said David Meger, the director of metals trading at Vision Financial Markets in Chicago.
Weaker-than-expected economic data “swings the pendulum of whether the Fed will raise interest rates,” Meger said in a telephone interview. “With equities trading at all time highs, we see a lower need for gold.”
Gold futures for February delivery climbed 0.1 percent to $1,199.30 an ounce at 9:31 a.m. on the Comex in New York.
Silver futures for March delivery gained 0.1 percent to $16.625 an ounce.