Market Snapshot: Gold’s slide puts prices on pace for longest skid in more than 2 months

Gold futures traded lower Friday, heading for the longest losing skid in more than two months ahead of the montyly U.S. employment report which could help to solidify a rally in equities and away from so-called havens, as Middle East tensions ease.

“Despite the recent US and Iran airstrikes, risk appetite has been largely restored,” wrote Han Tan, market analyst at FXTM in a Friday research note. He said “gold has erased all of its gains to trade below the psychological $1550 level.”

February gold GCG20, -0.27% on Comex was down $4.40, or 0.3%, at $1,549.90 an ounce, after falling 0.4% in the prior session. A third decline on Friday would mark its longest string of losses since a four-session decline ended Nov. 12, according to FactSet data. The reversal for gold over the week also comes after it hit a 2013 peak at $1,613.30.

For the week, gold is on track to decline 0.2% but perhaps more telling is gold’s nearly 4.4% peak-to-trough move over the week.

Meanwhile, equity markets, which often move in the opposite direction of gold, were surging, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average DJIA, +0.74%, the S&P 500 index SPX, +0.67% and the Nasdaq Composite Index COMP, +0.81% all aiming for new all-time highs on Friday.

The backsliding in the precious commodity and jump in stocks over the five-session stretch follows a lessening of Middle East tensions that has restored risk appetite and produced a major drag on precious metals.

On Wednesday President Donald Trump delivered remarks that underscored a move toward peace after a late-Tuesday Iranian airstrike on U.S. air bases in Iraq in an apparent retaliation for the killing of Iranian Maj. Gen. Qassem Soleimani a week ago. Separately, A Chinese envoy is set to go to Washington on Monday through Wednesday to firm up a phase-one trade agreement.

Commodity investors may take cues from the Labor Department’s jobs figure, which will be released at 8:30 a.m. Eastern Time. Economists surveyed by MarketWatch are for a December gain of 165,000 from a 266,000 gain in the prior month. The unemployment rates, meanwhile, is expected to hold at a 50-year low at 3.5%.

March silver SIH20, -0.09%, meanwhile, lost 2 cents, or 0.1%, to trade at $17.920 an ounce, on track for a weekly slide of 1.3%.