Investing.com - A rotten Apple was good for gold, with the precious metal reaching within $5 of $1,300 Thursday after weak stock markets pushed investors away from risk and toward safe havens.
U.S. stocks fell about 2% as investors, already spooked by a rare profit warning from Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL), were further rattled by the biggest drop in a decade for a key gauge on factory activity.
The slump in equities and also the dollar, which slid 0.6% against a basket of six major currencies, proved a boon to gold.
COMEX gold futures settled up $10.70, or 0.8%, at $1,294.80. Its peak for the day was a dime higher at $1,294.90.
"It looks like we are the cusp of the magic $1,300 number, which would be the point for asset allocators to start asking their managers 'Do we own enough or any gold?', and that would be the point when more buying usually comes in," said George Gero, precious metals analyst at RBC Wealth Management in New York.
But Gero also said $1,300 might be a resistance point given the market's long-standing target to reach that level.
"It'll be interesting to see if we can close above there on the same day we hit $1,300," he said. "If we do, then we're poised for higher levels, for sure."
Investors in gold will be on the lookout Friday for the U.S. jobs report for December. The report is expected to show 178,000 jobs were created, up from 155,000 in November. Wages are expected to have grown by about 3% year on year, while the unemployment rate is expected to have held steady at 3.7%.
Meanwhile, Fed Chairman Jerome Powell will sit with former fed chiefs Janet Yellen and Ben Bernanke to discuss the economy at a conference on Friday.
Powell’s comments could change the tone of the market very quickly. The Fed chairman jolted markets after his last post-meeting briefing in December when he said the central bank's balance sheet roll-off was on “autopilot,” surprising those who expected more flexibility from the Fed, given worsening financial conditions and recession fears.
In other precious metals on COMEX, silver futures rose 0.9% to $15.79 per troy ounce by 2:55 PM ET (19:55 GMT).
Palladium climbed 0.1% to $1,200.25.
Sister metal platinum slipped 0.1% to $803.10.
In base metals, COMEX copper fell 1.7% to $2.58 per pound.