Gold touches over three-week high, palladium hits 17-year peak

Gold prices edged up on Tuesday to a more than three-week high in post-holiday trade on geopolitical concerns, and palladium hit its highest since February 2001 on supply worries.

Precious metals markets reopened after being closed on Monday for the Christmas holiday.

Spot gold was up 0.44 percent at $1,280.4399 per ounce by 8:39 a.m. EST (1339 GMT), after reaching its highest level since Dec. 1 at $1,281.03.

U.S. gold futures for February delivery rose $6.30, or 0.49 percent, to $1,285.10 per ounce.

Geopolitical tensions and early weakness in the dollar underpinned gold, said George Gero, managing director of RBC Wealth Management in New York.

The dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of six major rivals, reversed losses after providing earlier support. A weaker greenback makes gold less expensive to holders of other currencies.

“Because gold is somewhat under-owned, traders are taking a second look to see if we can get over $1,300 area,” Gero said.

Tension has been rising over North Korea’s nuclear and missile programs, which it pursues in defiance of years of U.N. Security Council resolutions, with bellicose rhetoric coming from both Pyongyang and the White House.

“With North Korea’s Constitution Day Holiday on Wednesday, there may also be an element of risk hedging in play for regional markets at the moment,” said Jeffrey Halley, senior market analyst at OANDA.

Last week, gold gained for a second straight week and closed above its 200-day moving average, a key technical indicator.

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Name Last Change
DOW 24706.30 2.02%
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Resource Commodities

Name Last Change
Gold 1279.00 0.02%
Silver 15.25 0.00
Copper 2.74 0.000
Platinum 796.00 0.44%
Oil 53.80 3.22%
Natural Gas 3.48 1.98%
Uranium 28.88 0.00%
Zinc 1.17 0.00%