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Metals Stocks: Gold loses shine on Friday but ekes out slight gain amid investor panic over new COVID variant

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Gold prices jumped but then lost some ground on Friday before ending the session slightly higher, as investors repositioned their portfolios after South Africa announced a potentially highly contagious new COVID strain.

December gold 
GCZ22,
+0.41%

GC00,
+0.45%

gained $1.20, or less than 0.1%, to settle at $1,785.50, after hitting an intraday high at $1,816.30 an ounce in Black Friday trading.

Comex was closed Thursday for the U.S. Thanksgiving holiday and trade ended an hour earlier on Friday.

The precious metal had settled up 50 cents, or less than 0.1%, at $1,784.30 an ounce on Wednesday ahead of the holiday.

Gold initially jumped Friday as U.S. stocks and equities in Asian and Europe tumbled on news of the discovery of a new COVID variant in South Africa with a high level of mutations. The B.1.1.529 variant was detected in Botswana and among travelers in Hong Kong and Israel who had been in southern African countries.

However, the metal shed its gains during the Friday session as some investors sold gold to build up cash in their portfolios.

The World Health Organization held an emergency meeting on Friday and declared the virus a variant of concern, noting its transmissibility and naming it the omicron variant of the coronavirus.

Gold’s modest gain came as the dollar created a tailwind for dollar-pegged assets such as gold, with the ICE Dollar Index 
DXY,
-0.75%

down 0.6%.

For the week, gold booked a weekly decline of 3.6% based on the most-active continuous contract, while the DXY, referring to the dollar index’s ticker symbol, was up 0.1% on the holiday-shortened week for most of the market.

Risk-averse trading also sent U.S. Treasurys trading sharply higher, and yields lower, “reducing the threat that earlier in the week helped send gold crashing below $1,835,” noted Steen Jakobsen, chief investment officer at Saxo Bank, in a note to clients. The yield on the 10-year Treasury
TMUBMUSD10Y,
1.479%

tumbled 11 basis points to 1.53%.

Elsewhere, December silver 
SI00,
-1.49%

 fell 38.9 cents, or 1.6%, also giving up an earlier stronger gain to settle at $23.107 an ounce, while December copper 
HG00,
-4.04%

HGZ21,
-4.04%

 slid 17.55 cents, or 3.9%, to $4.2835 a pound.

Silver was down nearly 7% for the week, and copper declined 2.7%.

Market Extra: The U.S. stock market suffers ugly Black Friday selloff. Here are the biggest losers (and winners)

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