Gold heads for first weekly gain in three as Fed hurts dollar

Posted March 19, 2017

Meantime, spot gold was was up 0.3% at $1,230.28 U.S.an ounce early Friday, taking its gains this week to 2%.

Stock markets across the Atlantic were also strong, with the French CAC 40 up 0.6 percent and Germany's DAX also up 0.6 percent.

US stocks opened slightly higher on Thursday as Oracle boosted the technology sector and bank shares gained after the Federal Reserve raised interest rates for the first time this year. Prices hovered just below the Thursday session high, when the metal reached US$1,233.13, its highest since March 6.

Across the Atlantic, European stocks rose on Thursday after far-right candidate Geert Wilders was defeated in a closely watched Dutch election, pouring cold water on fears that a populist wave was sweeping the continent.

The Fed raised USA rates on Wednesday, as expected, but its earlier forecast of three rate increases this year remained unchanged, disappointing some investors who had hoped for hints of a possible fourth hike in 2017.

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IBM was up 1.2 percent and was the top stock on the Dow.

The two-year Treasury yield rose to 1.31% from 1.30%, and the 30-year yield rose to 3.13% from 3.11%.

Asian investors breathed a sigh of relief on Thursday as fears for faster U.S. interest rate hikes diminished and political upheaval in Europe failed to materialize. The benchmark one-year commercial lending rate was unchanged.

Gold is highly sensitive to rising United States interest rates, as these increase the opportunity cost of holding non-yielding bullion, while boosting the dollar, in which it is priced.

The S&P 500 was virtually flat at 2,382, as of 10 a.m. Conversely, on the bullish side of the pair, traders would likely want to let price action break above the prior swing-high, which is at the 38.2% retracement of that most recent bullish move before looking to press that theme.

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European stocks logged modest gains Wednesday, helped by advances for energy shares as oil prices were in recovery mode, while the results of the Dutch election and the Federal Reserve's policy meeting were on deck.

Outgoing policymaker Kristin Forbes unexpectedly voted to raise rates and the minutes said that some among the majority who kept them at a record low felt it would take a slight further rise in inflation for them to follow suit.

CURRENCIES: The euro from dipped to $1.0746 from $1.0749 late Thursday, and the British pound fell to $1.2367 from $1.2358.

While U.S. officials actually raised short-term interest rates by a quarter of a percentage point-to a range between 0.75% and 1%-the decision came as no surprise for investors, on the back of earlier statements and positive economic data.

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