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Metals Stocks: Gold futures edge up, with Fed minutes on deck

Gold futures inched higher on Wednesday as investors awaited minutes from the Federal Reserve’s late-July meeting, looking for clues about the timetable for the central bank’s rollback of crisis-era accommodations.

Ahead of the Fed minutes, investors will also hear from St. Louis Federal Reserve Bank President James Bullard, who will be interviewed by MarketWatch at noon.
Bullard isn’t currently a voting member of the Federal Open Market Committee, but still considered an influential member.

December gold
GCZ21,
+0.23%

GC00,
+0.23%

 was trading $2.20, or 0.1%, at $1,790 an ounce, hanging around its highest level since early August, following a 0.1% decline on Tuesday.

Minutes from the Federal Open Market Committee’s July meeting are due to be published at 2 p.m. Eastern Time and will be in greater focus amid news reports earlier this week that indicated policy makers were nearing an agreement to begin scaling back monthly purchases of $120 billion in Treasurys and mortgage-backed securities by November, with The Wall Street Journal reporting some policy makers were looking to end purchases by mid-2022.

A formal announcement on tapering is expected at either next week’s symposium on monetary policy in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, or the Fed’s September meeting.

Some strategists said that gold was gaining some traction higher due to investors spotting recent bullish momentum crystallizing in price chart patterns. Gold futures are up 0.7% so far this week, FactSet data show.

“The gold market bulls have the slight overall near-term technical advantage and that’s inviting some chart-based buying from the shorter-term traders.” wrote Jim Wyckoff, senior analyst at Kitco.com.

Meanwhile, silver for September delivery
SI00,
+0.13%

SIU21,
+0.13%

was up 6 cents or 0.3%, at $23.72 an ounce, following a nearly 0.6% decline on Tuesday.

Precious metals briefly took a leg higher after a reading of U.S. housing starts for July declined by 7% after increasing by 3.5% in the prior month, according to data from the U.S. Census Bureau and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. Meanwhile, building permits rose 2.6% in July, compared with a decline of 5.3% in June.

Gold and silver have enjoyed buying amid uncertainty about the spread of the delta variant of the coronavirus. Weak data also has offered some support for recent buying, including a Tuesday report that revealed that Americans cut spending at retail stores in July, with retail sales down 1.1% or more than the 0.3% decline forecast by economists polled by The Wall Street Journal.

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