February gold futures were up $2.20, or 0.2%, at $1,285.10 an ounce. Gold futures, as measured by the most-active contract, are on track for a 1.9% 2018 decline, according to FactSet, but are up 4.8% in December.
March silver was up 10.4 cents, or 0.7%, to $15.54 an ounce. Silver is down 9.4% year to date while looking at an 8.3% December rise.
Stock-index futures pointed to a higher start for Wall Street after President Donald Trump on Saturday tweeted that he and Chinese President Xi Jinping had made “big progress” in a telephone discussion about trade, though sources close to the talks told The Wall Street Journal that Trump was possibly exaggerating progress in a bid to calm markets.
“Looking at the equity markets, one can clearly see that there is positive optimism around [trade talks], however, gold traders aren’t willing to pay too much attention to this. Perhaps, they don’t believe that the progress made so far is good enough,” said Naeem Aslam, chief market analyst at Think Markets UK, in a note.
Stocks are ending a down year on a negative note, with the Nasdaq Composite in bear-market territory and the S&P 500 and Dow Jones Industrial Average on track for losses that will mark their biggest decline since 2008.
Equity weakness, along with heightened volatility, has been credited with stoking demand for gold and other traditional haven assets, while a weaker dollar is also seen providing a lift. The ICE U.S. Dollar Index a measure of the U.S. unit against a basket of six major rivals, is up 4.4% in the year to date but has retreated more than 1% in December. On Monday, it was off 0.2%.
A weaker dollar can provide support for commodities priced in the unit as it makes it cheaper to users of other currencies. Dollar strength earlier in the year was seen undercutting gold.
Palladium was set to end a blockbuster year on a positive note, with the March contract up $9.20, or 0.8%, to $1,192.60 an ounce. Palladium is on track for a 2018 rise of more than 12% after hitting a string of all-time highs, boosted by demand from automakers.
In other metals trade, April platinum rose 80 cents, or 0.1%, to $797.20 an ounce, on track for a 15% 2018 gain.
March copper fell 1.4 cents, or 0.5%, to $2.6675 a pound and was headed for a 2018 drop of more than 19%.
The SPDR Gold Shares (GLD) was trading at $121.05 per share on Monday afternoon, down $0.01 (-0.01%). Year-to-date, GLD has declined -2.10%, versus a -6.29% rise in the benchmark S&P 500 index during the same period.
GLD currently has an ETF Daily News SMART Grade of B (Buy), and is ranked #1 of 35 ETFs in the Precious Metals ETFs category.
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