Gold Settles Lower, But Silver Edges Higher (GLD, SLV)

On Thursday, gold (NYSEARCA:GLD) futures for February delivery decreased $23.20 to settle at $1,540.90 per ounce, while silver (NYSEARCA:SLV) futures edged 8 cents higher to settle at $27.32.  It was the sixth consecutive trading day that gold settled lower.

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In protest of salary cuts and other austerity measures, Greek tax officials walked off the job Thursday at the start of a 48-hour strike to take place on the last two working days of the year.  With tax offices shutting down on Thursday, Greeks rushed Wednesday to settle last-minute issues before the strike. Many handed over their car license plates, preferring to keep their vehicles off the road rather than pay an increased tax.  In return for a 110 billion-euro bailout, Greece’s previous Socialist government imposed harsh austerity measures, increasing taxes and retirement ages, cutting pensions and salaries, and suspending tens of thousands of civil servants on reduced pay.

On Thursday, Italy sold 7.02 billion euros of longer-dated bonds in the country’s final debt sale of the year.  The 10-year bond yield decreased to 6.98 percent from November’s 7.56 percent.  However, after the auction, the yield on the 10-year climbed above 7 percent.  The struggling euro has given a boost to the U.S. dollar (NYSE:UUP), which has weakened gold and silver prices.

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The SPDR Gold Shares Trust (NYSEARCA:GLD) fell .50 percent, while the iShares Silver Trust (NYSEARCA:SLV) gained 1.3 percent in afternoon trading.  Although gold prices settled lower on the Comex, the mining stocks (NYSEARCA:GDX) recovered later in the day.  Barrick Gold (NYSE:ABX) and AngloGold Ashanti (NYSE:AU) climbed more than 1 percent.  Silver miners (NYSEARCA:SIL) such as Endeavour Silver (NYSE:EXK) and First Majestic (NYSE:AG) surged 6.2 percent and 3.3 percent, respectively.

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To contact the reporter on this story: Eric McWhinnie at staff.writers@wallstcheatsheet.com

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Damien Hoffman at editors@wallstcheatsheet.com