2011-06-25

GOLD - Trade close to $1,510 per ounce as the U.S. dollar built on its strong gains

Gold shares slid Friday, as the AMEX Gold Bugs Index (HUI) fell 1.7% to 505.48 in morning trading.

The sector was pressured by gold bullion, which turned lower after earlier holding steady near $1,520 per ounce. The yellow metal tumbled to an intra-day low of $1,505.40, before paring a small portion of its losses to trade close to $1,510 per ounce as the U.S. dollar built on its strong gains posted yesterday.

Weakness in the gold sector was fueled by a modest rally in the U.S. Dollar Index (DXY), which climbed 0.3% to 76.12 against a basket of foreign currencies.

One company in the gold sector under considerable pressure on Friday was AngloGold Ashanti (AU), which retreated $1.08, or 2.6%, to $40.38 per share. According to optionMONSTER.com, significant put buying in AU occurred on Thursday.

The firm noted that “6,170 August 39 puts traded, while there was no previous open interest. Almost all of those puts were bought, with the largest block of 4,575 picked up for $1.55, which was the ask price at the time.”

“There was no corresponding trading in the underlying shares, so this could be hedging of an existing long position against further declines. Or this could be a straight bearish bet, especially as they traded near the lows of the day. Those puts closed the day at $1.20.”

Other notable decliners in the gold sector included HUI components IAMGOLD (IAG) and Randgold Resources (GOLD). This morning, IAG and GOLD dropped 3.6% and 1.3%, respectively.

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