Metals Stocks: Gold edges lower, on pace to end 4-session win streak as rate of coronavirus spread ebbs

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Gold futures retreated Tuesday morning as global equity markets punched higher, with the moves being attributed to an apparent slowdown in the cases of the coronavirus.

More than 43,000 cases of the Wuhan virus have been confirmed, with at least 1,018 deaths, according to the World Health Organization. However, the number of new, confirmed cases in China fell, according to China’s National Health Commission.

Meanwhile, the Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell in prepared remarks said the central bank is monitoring the fast-moving disease. “We are closely monitoring the emergence of the coronavirus, which could lead to disruptions in China that spill over to the rest of the global economy,” he wrote.

The comments are part of a two-day, semiannual congressional hearing on monetary policy that begins at 10 a.m. Eastern Time Tuesday with the House Financial Services Committee.

Against that backdrop, the Dow Jones Industrial Average DJIA, +0.43% and the S&P 500 SPX, +0.67%  were poised to add to recent gains.

April gold prices GCJ20, -0.37% fell $4.20, or 0.3%, to $1,575.20 an ounce, threatening to end a four-session win streak.

March silver SIH20, -0.51%, meanwhile, was 11 cents, or 0.6%, lower at $17.67 an ounce, after climbing 0.5% in the prior session.

Some strategists point to the strength in the dollar also as providing some friction for gold, which is priced in the currency. When gold strengthens, assets pegged to the currency are more expensive to buyers using other monetary units.

The ICE U.S. Dollar Index DXY, -0.12%, a gauge of the buck against a basket of half-dozen currencies, was up 0.1% for the week and 1.5% so far in February, according to FactSet data.

“There has been very little interest in gold in the past few days as the stronger [the dollar] continues to sap gold momentum, plus the bulk of buying on the back of virus fears went through early last week,” wrote Stephen Innes, chief market strategist at AxiCorp, in a note.