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Gold Ends Flat After Jobs Data, Up Slightly for Week

Friday, 3 May 2013 | 5:10 PM ET

Gold ended flat on Friday, erasing earlier gains after faster-than-expected U.S. job growth reduced any need for the Federal Reserve to boost monetary stimulus.

Bullion posted a 0.3 percent gain for the week, extending last week's rally of more than 4 percent.

(Read More: How to Trade the Gold ETF Now)

The metal came under pressure as the S&P 500 and Dow industrials rallied to intraday records after data showed U.S. nonfarm payrolls rose 165,000 last month and the jobless rate fell to 7.5 percent, the lowest since December 2008.

Earlier this week, the Fed said it would continue buying $85 billion in bonds each month and step up purchases if needed to stimulate the U.S. economy, while the European Central Bank cut interest rates for the first time in 10 months.

"If we continue to get consistently good job numbers, I would imagine the precious metal markets will start to come off more aggressively,'' said Matthew Schilling, commodities broker at futures brokerage RJ O'Brien.

Spot gold edged up 16 cents to $1,466.40 an ounce, reversing a 1.5 percent gain to a two-week high of $1,487.80 earlier.

U.S. gold futures settled down $3.40 at $1,464.20 an ounce, with trading volume 25 percent below its 30-day average, preliminary Reuters data showed.

A more than 6 percent rally in copper and gains in other commodities after the payrolls report supported gold, but the Dow's rise above 15,000 for the first time dented bullion's safe-haven status.

The ECB's decision to cut its main rate to a record low of 0.50 percent on Thursday came a day after the Fed's recommitment to its stimulus program. In April, the Bank of Japan promised to inject about $1.4 trillion into its economy to spur growth.

Easy monetary policy extended gold's bull run to a 12th consecutive year last year, as investors bought bullion to hedge against inflation and economic uncertainties. Year-to-date, however, gold is down 12.5 percent on fading inflation fears.

"There is no such thing as a hyperinflation scenario for at least the Western countries, that's why we think gold will suffer in the medium term,'' Danske Bank's Christin Tuxen said.

ETF Holdings Keep Falling

Holdings of the SPDR Gold Trust, the world's largest gold-backed exchange-traded fund, posted the deepest fall in one week, down 0.6 percent to 1,069.22 tons on Thursday, the lowest level since September 2009.

Gold prices plunged to near $1,320 on April 16, their lowest in more than two years, after the metal's diminishing appeal as an inflation hedge prompted investors to slash holdings of exchange-traded funds.

The drop in prices, however, spurred purchases of gold bars, coins and nuggets across Asia and in other parts of the world, keeping physical premiums at multi-year highs of around $3 an ounce to the spot London prices for a few weeks.

Among other precious metals, silver rose 0.9 percent to $24.01 an ounce. Platinum inched down 51 cents to $1,493.49 an ounce, while palladium rose 0.4 percent to $691.72.

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