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Gold Prices Fall After Strong Jobs Report

NEW YORK ( TheStreet ) -- Profit- taking hit gold prices Friday as investors opted for stocks after a strong reading on U.S. jobs in March.

Gold for June delivery lost $11 to settle at $1,428.90 an ounce at the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange. The gold price has traded as high as $1,437.80 and as low as $1,413.50 while the spot gold price recovered some ground and was off $2, according to Kitco's gold index.

Silver prices closed shed 15 cents to $37.73 an ounce.

Both metals finished the first quarter with a bang, but were getting hit after a positive jobs report. Gold settled at a record $1,439.90 an ounce, but still has to take out the $1,450 level for prices to push higher. Silver prices closed at a 31-year record of $37.88 an ounce after surging 22% in the first quarter.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics said in its Employment Situation Report that nonfarm payrolls rose by 216,000 in March. That was well ahead of expectations. Economists were expecting the headline number to increase by 185,000, according to consensus estimates from

Companies added 230,000 jobs, helping to offset the decline in state and local government payrolls. Economists forecast private payrolls to increase by 203,000, according to The ADP survey released earlier this week said companies added 201,000 jobs in March.

The unemployment rate unexpectedly ticked down to 8.8%. It's now dropped for four straight months, with the household survey showing a more rapid increase in employment than the establishment survey.

In addition to investors ditching the safe haven for stocks after the good jobs number, investors might also be trading in gold for cash after the metal's 1.3% rally in the first quarter.

Gold was hit in January with this type of rebalancing, which is also sometimes referred to as window dressing. Both terms are used to describe when portfolio managers reshuffle assets in their portfolio from quarter to quarter. Gold rallied 2.7% in December but then shed 6.6% in January. A selloff in gold prices Friday and into next week might be part of the same trend.
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