Gold Futures Are Little Changed After Topping $1,250

Gold climbed to a one-month high as demand for bars and coins increased in Asia and investors speculated that the Federal Reserve may be slow to curb economic stimulus after U.S. payrolls rose less than forecast.

Government figures on Jan. 10 showed that employment last month rose at the slowest pace in three years. Gold is “likely to find temporary support from short-covering activity and buying ahead of the Lunar New Year” in China, “but we believe buying will ease thereafter,” Barclays Plc said in a report.

“Traders continue to digest last Friday’s U.S. jobs report, which begins to suggest the Federal Reserve may have to taper its just-implemented tapering program,” Peter Hug, the global trading director of Kitco Metals Inc. in Montreal, said in a report. “The physical gold market in Asia could see better demand in the very near term.”

Gold futures for February delivery advanced 0.3 percent to settle at $1,251.10 an ounce at 1:39 p.m. on the Comex in New York. Earlier, the price reached $1,255.30, the highest for a most-active contract since Dec. 12.

Fed policy makers, who in December decided to cut monthly bond purchases to $75 billion from $85 billion, cited improvement in the labor market. The central bank will stick to its plan for a gradual reduction in U.S. bond purchases, economists said after the jobs report.

Silver futures for March delivery gained 0.8 percent to $20.385 an ounce on the Comex.

Platinum futures for April delivery rose 0.5 percent to $1,443.90 an ounce on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Earlier, the price reached $1,445.50, the highest since Nov. 15.

Palladium futures for March delivery declined 0.8 percent to $740 an ounce.

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