Gold futures rallied from a four-week low as U.S. equities declined, boosting demand for the metal as an alternative investment.
The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index of equities erased an earlier advance after data showed U.S. manufacturing expanded less than forecast in December. Gold dropped 1.5% percent last year as the S&P 500, Dow Jones Industrial Average and Russell 2000 stock gauges climbed to records.
“We got some gold buying at the same time stocks sold off,” George Gero, a precious-metals strategist at RBC Capital Markets in New York, said by phone. “It’s all about asset allocation for the beginning of the year.”
Gold futures for February delivery gained 0.2 percent to settle at $1,186.20 an ounce at 1:44 p.m. on the Comex in New York. Earlier, prices touched $1,167.30, the lowest since Dec. 1, as the dollar climbed to a 4 1/2-year high against the euro.
Trading was 22 percent below the 100-day average for this time, data compiled by Bloomberg show. Gold last year posted a consecutive annual loss for the first time since 1998.
Silver futures for March delivery gained 1.1 percent to $15.768 an ounce on the Comex. For the week, the metal was down 2.3 percent.
Platinum futures for April delivery dropped 0.5 percent to $1,203.90 an ounce on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Palladium futures for March delivery declined 0.4 percent to $794.85 an ounce.