Gold prices today (Thursday) climbed higher in morning trading, on track for a third consecutive trading session of gains.
Spot gold was last quoted at $1,291.80 an ounce - up $9.10 from the previous session close in New York of $1,282.70 an ounce. Gold futures for December delivery were up $11 at $1,294.40 an ounce on the Comex, and silver futures for December delivery were up $0.32 at $19.795 an ounce.
Gold prices today are being driven up by fresh cause for concern over the conflict between Russia and the West. Gold - a safe-haven investment - tends to see gains when fear rises.
Ukraine's President Petro Poroshenko declared Thursday morning that Russian forces had entered his country. The border town of Novoazovsk and other areas in the southeast were taken over by Russian forces, who were staging a counter-offensive in conjunction with Ukrainian rebels. Poroshenko has called an emergency meeting of the Ukrainian security and defense council to determine the next steps in dealing with the incursion. Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk has appealed to the United States, Europe, and other "Group of 7" (G7) countries "to freeze Russian assets and finances until Russia withdraws armed forces, equipment and agents."
Meanwhile, a Russian official denied that Russian troops have entered the country.
"Now, with geopolitical tensions rising, the three-day weekend and all that could happen in world hotspots during that time, many traders and investors will take action the next two trading sessions to reduce their risk exposure in the market place," commodity market analyst Jim Wyckoff wrote for Kitco.
The geopolitical conflict has such market weight that it's also having a cooling effect on the major stock indexes' record highs that had been mounting ahead of the Labor Day holiday weekend. As of 10:30 a.m. EDT, the Dow Jones was down 80.82 points, the S&P 500 was down 6.83 points, and the Nasdaq had fallen 16.83 points.The losses come despite Thursday's release of favorable economic data. A report released by the National Association of Realtors this morning that said U.S. pending home sales rose 3.3% in July. Second-quarter growth was revised up and weekly jobless claims are down.
Additionally, an index of major shares in Europe is down 0.7%, and bond yields have hit fresh lows. Moscow markets are notching their biggest decline in a month, with the Market Vector Russia ETF (NYSE ARCA: RSX) down 2.87% and Russia's dollar-denominated RTS index .IRTS down 3.6%. The top share index in Germany saw a 1.3% drop immediately after news broke that Russian forces had joined separatists to fight within Ukraine.
Gold bugs should watch for gold prices today (and over the long weekend) to continue to rise unless the conflict in Ukraine is quelled.
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