On Thursday, gold (NYSEARCA:GLD) futures for December — the most active contract — edged 70 cents higher to close at $1,370.80 per ounce, while silver (NYSEARCA:SLV) futures for September increased 7 cents to finish at $23.04.
Both precious metals received buying support as China’s manufacturing sector rebounded in August. The HSBC flash manufacturing Purchasing Managers Index rose to 50.1 this month — a four-month high and significantly higher than the 47.7 posted in July. Any reading above 50 indicates expansion, while a reading below 50 indicates contraction.
Furthermore, the number of Americans filing new claims for unemployment benefits last week increased by 13,000 to 336,000. It was the highest amount of initial claims in about a month and worst than expected. On the positive side, the four-week moving average for new claims fell to its lowest level since November 2007.
By the end of the trading day, shares of the SPDR Gold Trust (NYSEARCA:GLD) and iShares Silver Trust (NYSEARCA:SLV) both gained about 0.6 percent. Shares of Yamana Gold (NYSE:AUY) and Newmont Mining (NYSE:NEM) increased 2.9 percent and 1 percent, respectively. First Majestic Silver (NYSE:AG) shares jumped 3.7 percent.
Barrick Gold (NYSE:ABX) closed at 2.6 percent as sentiment around the miner continues to improve. TD Securities recently upgraded its rating on the miner from Hold to Buy with a price target of $25 and believes the company is making the right decisions to improve its balance sheet.
Analyst Greg Barnes explains, “We believe that the company’s near-term strategic clarity has improved [a smaller, more focused gold producer] and that for the time being the risks around the Pascua-Lama project are on the back burner.”
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Disclosure: Long EXK, AG, HL, PHYS