May 1, 2019 / 3:48 AM / 22 days ago

Gold prices inch lower on strong equities; Fed decision in focus

(Reuters) - Gold prices edged lower on Wednesday as a rebound in global equities made safe-haven assets less attractive, and markets awaited the Federal Reserve’s latest policy announcement later in the day.

FILE PHOTO: Gold bars at the Austrian Gold and Silver Separating Plant 'Oegussa' in Vienna, Austria, March 18, 2016. REUTERS/Leonhard Foeger/File Photo

Spot gold was down 0.2% to $1,280.31 per ounce as of 12:55 p.m. EDT (1655 GMT), after hitting a session low of $1,277.38.

U.S. gold futures fell 0.3% to $1,282.30 an ounce.

Investors are awaiting the end of a two-day meeting by the U.S. Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC), after the central bank ended its three-year policy tightening drive last month, ditching projections for any interest rate hikes this year.

“We have the U.S. economy still producing robust data which could turn off or relax some of the views that Fed is going to loosen the policy anytime soon,” said Bart Melek, head of commodity strategies at TD Securities in Toronto.

“We have economic numbers that are fairly well supported, equity markets are strong, gold doesn’t tend to perform particularly well in these situations as opportunity cost is associated with holding the zero-yielding asset.”

ADP’s national employment data for April showed 275,000 new private-sector job additions, higher than the consensus estimate of 180,000 additions.

Stocks around the world rose on Wednesday, extending the global rally into a fifth month as Apple Inc’s stellar results and forecast allayed concerns about slowing growth in corporate profits. [MKTS/GLOB]

“Gold is more focused on what equity markets are doing and if equities continue higher gold will trade lower despite a weaker dollar,” said Bob Haberkorn, senior market strategist at RJO Futures.

The dollar index fell to its lowest in a week against key rivals, weakening for the fourth straight session, as disappointing data on U.S. manufacturing and construction spending revived concerns about the economy.

Major U.S. indexes gained overnight after U.S. President Donald Trump agreed with Democratic leaders to spend $2 trillion on infrastructure.

Among other metals, silver fell to a more than four-month low of $14.64, while platinum prices dropped 2.3% to $865.50, its lowest in nearly a month.

Palladium slipped 3.4% to $1,341.50 per ounce, after touching its lowest level since Jan. 25 at $1,309.67.

Reporting by Brijesh Patel in Bengaluru; Editing by Bill Trott and Richard Chang

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