Metals Stocks: Gold gives up gains to finish lower for a third straight session

Gold futures rose Thursday, finding support as worries about the spread of COVID-19 outside of China continue to spark selling in global equity markets, spurring demand for traditional havens.

Gold for April delivery GCJ20, +0.94% on Comex rose $8.20, or 0.5%, to $1,651.30 an ounce, while May silver SIK20, +0.76% added 11.6 cents, or 0.6%, to trade at $18.03 an ounce.

The continued spread of COVID-19 outside of China “offered renewed support to gold and this strength has continued in early morning trading today,” said Warren Patterson, head of commodities strategy at ING, in a note.

Read:More new coronavirus cases outside China than inside; WHO chief calls spread ‘deeply concerning’

A new coronavirus case was confirmed in Northern California, the first in the U.S. by someone who hasn’t traveled to infected areas or been in known contact with anyone who has, raising the worrisome prospect that the virus is spreading by other means.

“Uncertainty over the virus continues to see investors flocking towards the yellow metal, with gold ETF holdings increasing for 26 consecutive days, with inflows over that time growing by 2.72 million ounces to total 84.43 million ounces currently,” Patterson said. “Given this uncertainty is likely to linger, along with the prospect for lower rates, it suggests that gold prices are the to remain well supported.”

In other metals trade, April platinum PLJ20, -0.54% was off 0.1% at $914 an ounce, while June palladium PAM20, +0.18% declined 0.2% to $2,662.20 an ounce.

May copper HGK20, -1.19% fell 0.7% to $2.555 a pound.