Gold for February delivery at the COMEX division of the New York Mercantile Exchange was increasing $2.90 to $1,249.80 an ounce. The gold price traded as high as $1,255.30 and as low as $1,243 an ounce, while the spot price was tacking on $3.15, or 0.25%.
"A lot of [the movement in the gold price] is going to hinge on forward economic data that we have coming out," Phil Streible, senior market strategist, said in an interview. "I think that a big catalyst will be closer to the end of the month when there's the next FOMC meeting."
The pace of the Federal Reserve's economic stimulus program largely is influenced by the relative improvement or deceleration in the U.S. labor situation, meaning that investors believe the central bank will taper its bond buying when jobs reports are better than anticipated, and maintain or increase stimulus when the jobs report comes in weak.
Here's what the pros are saying:
UBS: "Friday's payroll numbers offered gold the opportunity to rally, yet considering the sheer surprise of the data, its reaction was very underwhelming. That the biggest decider of gold's fate this year rests with market expectations of Fed policy, a weak employment report should have sparked a greater gold reaction."
Morgan Stanley: "We maintain our fairly pessimistic outlook for gold as we believe gold prices have fully factored in a turn in the US interest rate cycle. Gold's tepid response to the recent positive events confirms our view that tapering has been postponed, not cancelled."
Barclays: "Prices are likely to find temporary support from short covering activity and buying ahead of the Lunar New Year but we believe buying will ease thereafter and it looks unlikely that the baton will be picked up by India unless trade restrictions are eased."
In gold mining news, Goldcorp (GG) announced Monday that it will offer to buy all outstanding common shares of Osisko Mining, in a deal that would total $2.38 billion. Shares were falling 1.5% to $22.85.
-- Written by Joe Deaux in New York.
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