Amid slack U.S. economic data and rising concerns about the fate of the Euro Zone ahead of Greek elections this weekend, gold notched its fourth consecutive up day. COMEX gold for August delivery added $5.60, or 0.4%, to settle at $1,619.40 an ounce. In the past four sessions, the yellow metal has added 2%. Gold’s gains came on a down day for the U.S. dollar. The PowerShares DB US Dollar Index Bullish (NYSE: UUP) closed modestly lower.
In economic news, the Commerce Department said retail sales fell 0.2% last month following a revised 0.2% drop in April. Excluding the 2.2% decline in gasoline sales, retail sales increased 0.1% in May. The April/May declines were the first consecutive drops in retail sales in two years. The Labor Department said the producer price index fell 1% last month thanks primarily to a 4.3% decline in energy prices. The PPI decline was the largest in almost three years.
Traders embraced gold ahead of Greek elections this Sunday that many are viewing as the last great hope for the "G" in PIIGS to adapt real austerity plans and salvage its status as a member of the Euro Zone. More from Europre: Moody’s Investors Service lowered Spain’s credit rating to Baa3 from A3 and the ratings agency did not rule out further downgrades in the coming months. Spain’s new rating from Moody’s is just one level above junk status. Despite Spain’s obvious issues, only Egan-Jones currently has a junk rating on the country’s credit.
Gold’s gains helped the iShares Gold Trust (NYSE: IAU) and the SPDR Gold Shares (NYSE: GLD) each gain more than 0.4%, though volume was light across both funds. On volume that was barely more than half the daily average, the iShares Silver Trust (NYSE: SLV) lost 0.4%. SLV is still above $28 with firm support at $26.
The other white metals ETFs have been plagued by anemic volume recently and that was the case again on Wednesday as the ETFS Physical Platinum Shares (NYSE: PPLT) added half a percent on volume that was well below half the daily average. The ETFS Physical Palladium Shares (NYSE: PALL) gave up 1% on volume that just above a third of the usual turnover.
On a weak day for equities, mining stocks and ETFs languished. The Market Vectors Junior Gold Miners ETF (NYSE: GDXJ) lost 1.5% on the day while the Global X Silver Miners ETF (NYSE: SIL) was off 0.3%. The Market Vectors Gold Miners ETF (NYSE: GDX) notched a small gain.
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