Metals Stocks: Gold marks longest streak of session gains since January

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Gold futures rose for a fourth straight session Monday, marking their highest settlement in just over five weeks as investors eyed trade tensions between the U.S. and China and their impact on the U.S. dollar and stock market.

Prices for the metal found support as the dollar declined, but a rebound in U.S. stocks on the back of easing trade tensions between the U.S. and China kept a cap on the metal’s gains.

April gold GCJ8, +0.36%  tacked on $5.10, or 0.4%, to settle at $1,355 an ounce. Prices marked their highest finish since Feb. 16 and they’ve now climbed for four sessions in a row—the longest streak of such gains since January, , according to FactSet data. Silver also ended higher, with the May contract SIK8, +0.80% up 0.6% to $16.684 an ounce.

“China’s pushback on proposed U.S. tariffs worried the market and hurt the dollar as traders’ concerns about China’s continued support of the U.S. Treasury market came into focus,” said Peter Hug, global trading director at Kitco Metals. “Trade fears with China have impacted not only the dollar but equity markets, which tested their February lows” last week.

On Friday, China had fired back at the Trump administration’s move to add tariffs on at least $50 billion worth of goods. China’s commerce ministry on Friday said it would impose tariffs on $3 billion in U.S. goods, with officials accusing the U.S. of violating global trade rules.

President Donald Trump’s replacement of H.R. McMaster with John Bolton, as national security adviser has also “worried the market in respect to North Korea, as Bolton is considered a more aggressive war hawk,” he said. “There was enough turmoil to force a short squeeze in the metals.”

Against that backdrop, the dollar index remained under pressure Monday. The U.S. Dollar Index DXY, -0.49% fell 0.5% after logging a weekly loss of 0.9%. Gold and the dollar typically move inversely, as moves in the U.S. unit can influence the attractiveness of commodities to holders of other currencies.

Risk-on sentiment, however, was restored for now by reports that U.S. and Chinese officials are conducting behind-the-scenes talks to avert a global trade war. Gains in U.S. stocks served to limit gold’s rise.

“Progress in negotiations would be bullish for the dollar and bearish for gold but if things deteriorate instead, we could see further equity and dollar weakness and more upside for gold,” said Edward Meir, independent commodity consultant at INTL FCStone, in a recent note.

Gold had notched a weekly gain of almost 3% last week on the threat of a looming trade war between the U.S. and China. The metal had also climbed amid weakness for dollar in the wake of the Federal Reserve’s hints at a less-aggressive monetary policy this year than some market participants had been factoring in.

In a recent note, Goldman Sachs said its commodities team has become bullish on gold for the first time in more than five years, “based on higher inflation, rising [emerging market] wealth and concerns about an equity correction.”

Among other metals, May copper HGK8, -0.38%  fell 0.8% to $2.97 a pound. July platinum PLJ8, +0.34%  rose 0.2% to $956.40 an ounce. June palladium PAM8, -0.30%  lost 0.5% to $966.85 an ounce.

Among exchange-traded funds, the iShares Silver Trust SLV, +1.06%  was up 0.9%, while the SPDR Gold Shares GLD, +0.66%  added 0.7% and the VanEck Vectors Gold Miners ETF GDX, +1.58%  was up 1.5%.