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NEW YORK ( TheStreet ) -- Gold prices ended Friday with a thud after the U.S. reported a positive January jobs report. Gold for February delivery closed down $19 to $1,740.30 an ounce at the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange and were continuing their declines in after hours trading. The gold price has traded as high as $1,765.90 and as low as $1,735.50, while the spot gold price was sinking $30, according to Kitco's gold index. Silver prices lost 42 cents at $33.74 an ounce. The U.S. dollar index was slightly higher at $78.98.
Gold prices fell Friday as investors rotated out of the metal and into stocks after a killer jobs number. The number beat expectations with the private sector adding 257,000 jobs and with the unemployment rate falling to 8.3% while the labor force participation rate stayed firm, which means the decline in the unemployment rate was due to more actual hiring.
"A stronger rupee since the beginning of the year is helping to offset the high price of gold in U.S. dollar terms," said James Steel, analyst at HSBC. The recent week-long rally in the gold price could "reduce buying to a trickle," warned Moffatt, but he noted solid demand from other Asian countries like Thailand as well as coin demand from the U.S. and Europe. Despite U.S. headlines taking front and center stage Friday, Jon Nadler, senior analyst at Kitco.com, said he still thinks that Europe is the biggest factor moving gold. "Europe is showing all the signs that the credit contraction is under way," said Nadler, who is worried about a prolonged recession. "I would certainly want to see some real strong steps out of Europe before I would take on more risk again and buy more stocks and gold and so on." If gold can surpass $1,803-$1,805 on a closing basis, gold would be "poised for new highs," said Nadler. But he is more concerned about "mattress money scenarios" where people stop buying all assets as risk appetite dies out altogether in an event of a steep global slowdown. Gold mining stocks were weaker Friday. Kinross Gold ( KGC) was down 1.68% to $11.20 while Yamana Gold ( AUY) was shedding more than 3% at $17.14. Other gold stocks, Agnico-Eagle ( AEM) and Eldorado Gold ( EGO)were trading significantly lower at $36.36 and $14.70, respectively. -- Written by Alix Steel in New York. >To contact the writer of this article, click here: Alix Steel. >To follow the writer on Twitter, go to http://twitter.com/adsteel.