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Gold ETFs Drop as Dollar, Bernanke in Focus


Gold exchange traded funds are on track for a weekly loss of nearly 3% as precious metals get hit on a stronger U.S. dollar and diminishing inflation expectations.

SPDR Gold Shares (GLD) and iShares Silver Trust (SLV) were off about 2% in early trading Friday.

The metals ETF have been hurt by a stronger U.S. dollar. For example, PowerShares DB US Dollar Bullish Index (UUP) is set for a gain of more than 1% for the week.

In currency markets, the dollar has been notably strong against the Japanese yen. [Japanese Yen ETFs Tumble as Dollar Breaks 100 Yen]

Investors were also focused on a speech by Federal Reserve chief Ben Bernanke on Friday and any hints the central bank may scale back its bond purchases.

“In light of the current low interest rate environment, we are watching particularly closely for instances of ‘reaching for yield,’ and other forms of excessive risk-taking, which may affect asset prices and their relationships with fundamentals,” Bernanke said Friday.

The upbeat jobs report for April has triggered speculation the Fed may ease back on its stimulus measures designed to keep interest rates low.

“The Fed may step up QE or step down QE depending on how the economy performs,” Credit Agricole analyst Robin Bhar said in a Reuters report. “So far, the data seems to be improving, which suggests they’re likely to take their foot off the pedal. That would argue for weaker gold.”

The dollar has been very strong, particularly against the yen, he added. “So it’s difficult to come up with any positives for gold.”

Investors have been pulling money from gold ETFs with bullion in holdings in GLD falling to the lowest levels since early 2009. [Gold Bounce Stalls as ETFs See More Outflows]

SPDR Gold Shares


Full disclosure: Tom Lydon’s clients own GLD and SLV.