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Metals Stocks: Gold taps highest levels 17 months as Russian invasion in Ukraine sparks flight to safety

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Gold futures were surging on Thursday, rising to their highest intraday levels since September 2020, as Russia launched an invasion of Ukraine, igniting a flight to perceived havens as investors fret that the latest geopolitical actions will destabilize economies and intensify inflationary pressures.

“Markets are in full risk-off mode,” and gold has broken out of a one-and-a-half year-long “bullish consolidation” and tested key resistance of $1,965 early Thursday, said Paul Wong, market strategist at Sprott.

April gold
GCJ22,
+0.98%

GC00,
+0.98%

was up $14.80, or 0.8%, at $1,925.20 an ounce, after touching a high of $1,976.50 — the highest for a most-active contract since September 2020, FactSet data show.

“We continue to see gold as an under-owned safe-haven asset,” said Wong. “There was a significant reduction in investment in gold last year which is now in the process of reversing.”

Read: Ukraine invasion sends wheat, corn and oil soaring because Russia is a ‘commodity superstore’

The surge in gold values came even as the dollar was up 1.4%, as measured by the ICE U.S. Dollar Index
DXY,
+1.52%
.
A richer dollar would ordinarily serve as a headwind for dollar-pegged commodities such as gold but a retreat in yields for government debt also was helping to counter currency moves. The 10-year Treasury note
TMUBMUSD10Y,
1.945%

yields 1.93%, down 4 basis points, compared with Wednesday afternoon. Rates fall as prices for government debt rise.

In other Comex dealings, palladium was a standout given the risk to supplies from Russia, which is the metal’s largest producer. March palladium
PAH22,
+6.67%

rose 7% to $2,612.50 an ounce. April platinum
PLJ22,
-1.04%
,
however, edged down by 0.9% to $1,082.50 an ounce.

March silver
SIH22,
+1.15%

added 1% to $24.785 an ounce, while May copper
HGK22,
+0.11%
,
which is now the most active, tacked on 0.1% to $4.493 an ounce.

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