On Friday, gold (NYSEARCA:GLD) futures for April delivery, the most active contract, decreased $5.80 to settle at $1,572.80 per ounce, while silver (NYSEARCA:SLV) futures for March fell 24 cents to close at $28.46.
Both precious metals finished the week lower, as the U.S. dollar gained strength against the euro currency. The euro-zone economy is expected to contract for the second consecutive year in 2013, and the third year in the past five, according to the European Commission. The forecast is for a 0.3 percent contraction and expects a decrease in spending by businesses, consumers and national governments.
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“This has grave social consequences and will, if unemployment becomes structurally entrenched, also weigh on growth perspectives going forward,” said Marco Buti, the commission’s top civil servant, in a statement.
Furthermore, the European Central Bank said 356 banks in the region would repay 61.1 billion euros of the cheap emergency loans taken out a year ago, less than the 122.5 billion euros expected.
In afternoon trading, the SPDR Gold Trust (NYSEARCA:GLD) dipped 0.15 percent, while the iShares Silver Trust (NYSEARCA:SLV) declined 0.20 percent. However, gold miners (NYSEARCA:GDX) such as Newmont Mining (NYSE:NEM) and Barrick Gold (NYSE:ABX) managed to climb higher. Silver names such as First Majestic Silver (NYSE:AG) and Hecla Mining (NYSE:HL) both dropped more than 1 percent.
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Disclosure: Long EXK, AG, HL, PHYS