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Gold Edges Higher

The metal resumes its recent rally, but the dollar finds its footing vs. the yen, limiting gains.

Gold was edging marginally higher Monday as traders remained largely on the sidelines ahead of important economic data due out later this week.

Contracts for February delivery of gold were edging higher by $1.20 at $645.60 an ounce on the Chicago Board of Trade. The comparable Comex gold contract was recently up $11.70 to $647.10 per ounce. But Comex was closed Thursday and Friday in observance of Thanksgiving and thus had not yet reflected the dollar's weakness late last week.

The currency markets were mixed Monday, further adding to the lack of direction in the bullion market. The greenback was again losing against the euro, which was trading at a 20-month high of $1.3124 vs. $1.3097 late Friday. The dollar was, however, gaining against the yen, buying 116.11 yen, up from 115.81 yen previously. Gold prices tend to move inversely with changes in the value of the dollar.

Among the slew of statistics out this week, traders will likely be paying close attention to Department of Commerce figures for October durable goods orders, due to be published Tuesday and expected to be down 5%. Also important, and out the same day, the National Association of Realtors will provide data on sales of existing homes for last month, forecast at 6.14 million, compared to 6.18 million the prior month.

Later in the week, on Wednesday the Commerce Department will release its preliminary third-quarter figures for GDP growth Wednesday. Consensus forecasts are for 1.8% growth compared with 1.6% for the second quarter. The

Federal Reserve

will also publish its beige book the same day.

"An unexpectedly weak or strong data could push gold sharply higher or lower," says Carlos Sanchez, an analyst at specialty consulting firm CPM Group in New York. An upward price move will likely run into technical resistance at around the $660 level, but in the absence of major fundamental news, will see base building around $640, he says.

Among the miners,

Yamana Gold

(AUY) - Get Yamana Gold Inc. Report

was gaining 3%, while

Gold Fields

(GFI) - Get Gold Fields Ltd. Report

was ahead by 2.4%.

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Shares of

Randgold Resources

(GOLD) - Get Barrick Gold Corporation Report

were, however, skidding lower, off 1.6% recently.

The bullion exchange-traded funds were modestly higher, with

streetTracks Gold Shares

(GLD) - Get SPDR Gold Shares Report


iShares Comex Gold Trust

(IAU) - Get iShares Gold Trust Report

gaining 0.1% and 0.2%, respectively.

In base metals, March contracts for copper were moving higher by 6.7 cents at $3.203 a pound on the Comex division of the Nymex.

In ferrous metals, Soleil downgraded

U.S. Steel

(X) - Get United States Steel Corporation Report

to hold from buy. The stock was slipping 2.4% recently.