By Barani Krishnan
Investing.com – The palladium bull remains irrepressible, but the gold bug is having trouble staying on the bronco as the U.S. labor market lends a modicum of support to a dollar all but forsaken by the Fed.
The spot price of palladium, an auto-catalyst metal, shot to record peaks for a fourth-straight day on Thursday, its third above the key $1,600 level.
was up $5.60, or 0.4%, at 1,600.10 per ounce by 3:34 PM ET (19:34 GMT), after setting an all-time high at $1,616.30. The silvery-white metal has benefited all week on speculation of continued scarcity in the commodity, which is produced mainly in Russia and South Africa.
The Federal Reserve’s reassurance of a benign interest rate regime in the U.S. through 2019, communicated through its decision on not to raise rates again in March, battered the dollar on Wednesday and added froth to in the gold and palladium markets.
, traded on the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange, settled down $2.50, or 0.2%, to $1,557.90 per ounce after a peak at $1,576.60.
Gold also rallied early in the day, notching a month’s high above $1,300 in early trade, but it fell back as the dollar bolted up on data showing the number of Americans filing applications for unemployment benefits fell more than expected last week.
The , which measures the greenback against a basket of six currencies, rose by 0.8% to 95.947 by 3:35 PM ET (19:35 GMT). The dollar was also bolstered by another report indicating a sharp rebound in factory activity in the mid-Atlantic region this month from heavy falls earlier.
, reflective of trades in physical bullion, was down $3.81, or 0.3%, to $1,308.74 per ounce after scaling $1,320.95 earlier, its highest since Feb. 26. Comex for April delivery settled the official trading session down $5.60 at $1,307.30 per ounce.
Some fund managers said they were staying off gold for now.
“We got out of our GLD position,” said Matthew Tuttle, founder of Riverside, Conn.-based Tuttle Tactical Management, which had about 3% of its $600 million assets in the world’s leading gold exchange-traded fund, the SPDR Gold Shares (NYSE:), before liquidating that position.
“I wouldn’t say we are necessarily bearish on gold, but I expect to see more weird divergences like today where both the dollar and gold are vying for investor attention. Hereon, I see gold bumping around in a range of $1,300 and $1,350,” Tuttle added.
Spot gold’s high for this year was just shy of $1,350, reached on Feb. 20.
Trades in other Comex metals as of 3:30 PM ET (19:30 GMT):
up $2, or 0.2%, at $861.60 per ounce.
up 15.5 cents, or 1%, at $15.47 per ounce.
down 1 cent, or 0.3%, at $2.91 per pound.