Gold futures rallied 1% on Friday, as investors continued to monitor geopolitical concerns in the Gaza strip and Ukraine.
On the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange, gold for August delivery jumped 0.97%, or $12.50, on Friday to end the week at $1,303.30 a troy ounce.
Gold prices were likely to find support at $1,287.50, the low from July 24 and resistance at $1,316.80, the high from July 22.
Gold’s safe haven appeal was boosted on Friday as investors continued to closely watch an intensifying geopolitical crisis between Moscow and the West over the situation in Ukraine.
The Pentagon said Friday that Russia has escalated the violence in Ukraine and may be set to provide more sophisticated weapons to pro-Russian rebels in eastern Ukraine.
Meanwhile, fighting between Israel and Hamas showed little sign of abating, despite ongoing efforts by the U.S. to reach a ceasefire.
Gold is often seen as a haven investment in times of geopolitical uncertainty.
Despite Friday’s strong gains, Comex gold prices declined 0.46%, or $6.10 an ounce, on the week, the second consecutive weekly loss.
Gold tumbled to a five-week low of $1,287.50 on Thursday after upbeat U.S. economic data added to speculation that the Federal Reserve will hike interest rates sooner than expected.
The U.S. Department of Labor reported that the number of individuals filing for initial jobless benefits in the week ending July 19 declined by 19,000 to hit an eight-year low of 284,000.
On Friday, the Census Bureau said that U.S. durable goods orders rose 0.7% in June, beating expectations for a 0.5% gain. Core durable goods orders, which are stripped of transportation items, grew 0.8% in June, beating expectations for a 0.6% gain.
The data primed market expectations for the Fed to wind down its bond-buying stimulus program around October and raise interest rates in 2015, which would reduce the need for gold for use as a hedge against loose monetary policy.
In the week ahead, investors will be looking ahead to Wednesday’s monetary policy announcement by the Federal Reserve. The U.S. will also release the monthly non-farm payrolls report for July later in the week as well as a preliminary estimate on second quarter economic growth.
Data from the Commodities Futures Trading Commission released Friday showed that hedge funds and money managers increased their bullish bets in gold futures in the week ending July 22.
Net longs totaled 136,120 contracts, up 3.1% from net longs of 131,971 in the preceding week.
Also on the Comex, silver for September delivery climbed 1.08%, or 22.1 cents, on Friday to settle the week at $20.63 a troy ounce, as investors returned to the market to seek cheap valuations after prices dropped to a five-week low on Thursday.
On the week, the September silver futures contract lost 1.19%, or 25.0 cents, the second straight weekly decline.
Data from the CFTC showed that net silver longs totaled 46,221 contracts as of last week, little changed from net longs of 46,795 contracts in the preceding week.
Elsewhere in metals trading, copper for September delivery rallied to a daily high of $3.279 a pound on Friday, the most since July 13, before turning lower to end at $3.240 by close of trade, down 0.8%, or 2.6 cents.
On the week, Comex copper prices rose 1.72%, or 5.6 cents a pound as growing optimism over the health of the U.S. economy and speculation demand from top consumer China will increase in the near-term boosted prices.
According to the CFTC, net copper longs totaled 44,107 contracts as of last week, down from net longs of 48,994 contracts in the preceding week.