Gold (GLD) Hangs Above $1,600 While Silver (SLV) Edges Lower

On Wednesday, gold (NYSEARCA:GLD) futures for February delivery increased $12.20 to settle at $1,612.70 per ounce, while silver (NYSEARCA:SLV) futures edged 48 cents lower to settle at $29.10.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average (NYSEARCA:DIA) rose slightly after December retail sales may have jumped as much as 4.5 percent, more than previously estimated.

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Sales at stores open more than a year were earlier projected to have advanced as much as 4 percent, the International Council of Shopping Centers said today in a statement.  Sales at retail stores rose 5.3 percent last month compared to a year earlier. Sales were also up for the last two weeks of December, compared to the end of 2010, as retailers extended store hours and benefited from Christmas Eve falling on a Saturday, providing a strong final day of shopping for the holidays.

Despite the U.S. dollar (NYSE:UUP) climbing higher on Wednesday, the SPDR Gold Trust (NYSEARCA:GLD) increased .60 percent in afternoon trading.  However, it was a mixed bag of returns for the gold miners (NYSEARCA:GDX).  Barrick Gold (NYSE:ABX) jumped .82 percent, while Yamana Gold (NYSE:AUY) and Newmont Mining (NYSE:NEM) both edged lower.  The iShares Silver Trust (NYSEARCA:SLV) fell 1.6 percent, but First Majestic Silver (NYSE:AG) and Hecla Mining Co. (NYSE:HL) gained .45 percent and .70 percent, respectively.

Despite the calls for a pop in the gold bubble, Citi (NYSE:C) analyst Tom Fitzpatrick says the gold correction “has run its course and a rally is now back on the cards.”  He recognizes that gold prices may still fall further, but are likely to reach $2,400 per ounce on the next major up leg.  Fitzpatrick explains, “Unless and until we see a weekly close below $1,535, we believe the uptrend in gold has resumed and a move to $2,400 throughout the course of this year is on the cards.”

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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