Gold and Silver Finish Week on High Note

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On Friday, gold (NYSEARCA:GLD) futures for April delivery increased $19.90 to settle at $1,662.40 per ounce, while silver (NYSEARCA:SLV) futures jumped 93 cents to close at $32.27.

Despite sluggish trading, gold managed to edge slightly higher on the week, while silver finished 34 cents lower.  Both precious metals received a bounce today as new housing data weighed on recovery hopes.  The Commerce Department announced that new single-family homes in the U.S. fell 1.6 percent in February to 313,000 unit annual rate.  Furthermore, January’s number was revised down to 318,000 units, from 321,000 units.

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Economists polled by Reuters expected sales to come in at 325,000 units.  The median price for a new home increased 8.3 percent to $233,700.  “The numbers are telling us that the housing market is slowly coming back. It’s still a depressed market, but it’s getting better. We have a long way to go,” said Patrick Newport, an economist at Global Insight.

In afternoon trading, the SPDR Gold Trust (NYSEARCA:GLD) increased 1.4 percent, while the iShares Silver Trust (NYSEARCA:SLV) jumped 2.4 percent.  Gold miners (NYSEARCA:GDX) such as Goldcorp Inc. (NYSE:GG) and Barrick Gold (NYSE:ABX) both climbed almost 2 percent higher.  Meanwhile, Silver Wheaton Corp. (NYSE:SLW) surged 5.8 percent, while Silvercorp Metals Inc. (NYSE:SVM) gained 6 percent.

Despite a sharp sell-off in Randgold Resources (NASDAQ:GOLD) yesterday due to a military coup, shares edged .85 percent higher before the closing bell.  Chief executive Mark Bristow, said the military coup did not affect operations of the company, which relies on mines in Mali for the majority of its production.  “Malians respect laws and I don’t believe this will come with a high-handed change in political direction.  We don’t expect any subsequent governments to disregard proper and due process,” Bristow said in a press release.  The recent price action also caused Citigroup and J.P. Morgan to downgrade their stock ratings on Randgold.

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Disclosure: Long EXK, AG, HL, PHYS

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

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