Precious metals headed further into negative territory Friday afternoon amid widespread liquidation on Wall Street. The broad-based sell-off in financial markets was driven in part by a rally in the U.S. dollar and in spite of the better than expected U.S. employment report.
Gold futures slid as much as $0.70, or 2.4%, to $1,674.80 per ounce in electronic trading. Silver futures fared even worse, plunging $1.43, or 4.4%, to an intra-day low of $30.82 per ounce. At the COMEX, gold and silver futures posted weekly declines of 2.1% and 3.7%, respectively.
Shares of most gold and silver mining companies came under heavy selling pressure alongside the metals. The Philadelphia Gold & Silver Index (XAU) sunk by 4.0% to 179.52 this afternoon, putting it on pace for a weekly loss of 1.8%.
Barrick Gold (ABX.TSX, NYSE: ABX), the world’s largest gold producer, sunk 3.3% to $35.49 per share after having its price target cut by Macquarie analyst Tony Lesiak to C$43.00 from C$46.00. The target reduction followed Barrick Gold’s dismal quarterly earnings results that were announced yesterday.
Lesiak did maintain his Neutral rating on ABX.TSX, but noted in his report to clients that “We see limited re-rating potential given ABX’s inconsistent strategic direction and message, the recent move towards copper, lack of growth until 2015, continued development risks, and limited dividend growth potential given weak free cashflow.”
(For more coverage of Barrick’s earnings, as well as analysis and rankings on every stock in the XAU, visit GoldAlert Pro at http://pro.goldalert.com)
Other notable XAU components in the red included Yamana Gold (AUY) and Pan American Silver (PAAS) – which slid by 5.0% to $19.07 and by 3.9% to $21.73 per share, respectively.
Among other precious metals, platinum futures fell 1.8% to $1,544.90 per ounce while palladium retreated by 2.1% to $599.65 per ounce. As for widely-followed cyclical commodities, copper futures moved lower by 2.0% to $3.48 per pound and crude oil by 2.5% to $84.93 per barrel.