CHICAGO, March 8 (Xinhua) — Gold futures on the COMEX division of the New York Mercantile Exchange jumped back on Friday as weak U.S. job data dragged down the dollar and equities.
The most active gold contract for April delivery rose 13.20 dollars, or 1.03 percent, to settle at 1,299.30 dollars per ounce.
The U.S. Department of Labor reported on Friday that total non-farm payroll employment was little changed in February, with just 20,000 more jobs created following an increase of 311,000 in January. In 2018, U.S. job growth averaged 223,000 per month.
The disappointing U.S. jobs report added to concerns about slowing global growth, one day after the euro zone lowered its growth target.
On Thursday, the European Central Bank slashed its growth forecast for the euro zone to 1.1 percent, down from an earlier estimate of 1.7 percent, and announced plans to stimulate the European economy.
The downbeat employment data pressured Wall Street benchmarks and the U.S. dollar on Friday, which in turn boosted demand for the safe-haven asset gold.
At midday, the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 141.88 points, or 0.56 percent, to 25,331.35. The S&P 500 was down 20.54 points, or 0.75 percent, to 2,728.39. The Nasdaq Composite Index decreased 53.85 points, or 0.73 percent, to 7,367.61.
When equities post losses, the precious metal usually goes up, as investors are looking for a safe haven.
Additional support came from the decreasing U.S. dollar index, which measures the greenback against six major peers. The index slipped significantly to around 97.3 on Friday.
Gold and the dollar typically move in opposite directions. When the dollar goes down, gold futures will rise as gold, priced in the dollar, becomes less expensive for investors holding other currencies.
As for other precious metals, silver for May delivery was up 30.9 cents, or 2.05 percent to close at 15.349 dollars per ounce. Platinum for April delivery was up 0.5 dollar, or 0.06 percent, to settle at 817.60 dollars per ounce.