Gold and Silver Stumble as Jobless Claims Reach 5-Year Low

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On Thursday, gold (NYSEARCA:GLD) futures for February delivery, the most active contract, decreased $16.80 to settle at $1,669.90 per ounce, while silver (NYSEARCA:SLV) futures for March dropped 72 cents to close at $31.72.

Both precious metals experienced weakness as the number of Americans filing new applications for jobless benefits reached a new five-year low. Initial jobless claims fell by 5,000 to a seasonally adjusted 330,000 in the week ended January 19, according to the Labor Department. Economists were expecting around 355,000 claims.

However, because of the holiday-shortened week, the number of applications was estimated for Hawaii, Virginia and California. This will likely add to the seasonal swings that distort the numbers. Brian Jones, senior U.S. economist at Societe Generale, said, “The swings are attributable to the calendar, we’re going to pay for this.” He expects the number of jobless claims to raise at the end of the month.

In afternoon trading, the SPDR Gold Trust (NYSEARCA:GLD) fell 0.95 percent, while the iShares Silver Trust (NYSEARCA:SLV) declined 1.60 percent. Gold miners (NYSEARCA:GDX) such as Barrick Gold (NYSE:ABX) and Yamana Gold (NYSE:AUY) dropped 1.50 percent and 3.40 percent, respectively. Silver names such as First Majestic Silver (NYSE:AG) and Hecla Mining (NYSE:HL) both stumbled more than 3.0 percent.

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Disclosure: Long EXK, AG, HL, PHYS

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