Gold Today: Up $3, but Lagging Behind Other Precious Metals; Alcoa Jumps

Although we don't believe in timing the market or panicking over daily movements, we do like to keep an eye on market changes -- just in case they're material to our investing thesis.

Stocks generally took a pause Friday, and the bond market pushed 10-year rates above the 3% level, but precious metals continued their bounce higher today. Gold prices rose $3, to $1,214, according to figures from Kitco, sending SPDR Gold (NYSEMKT: GLD  ) to gains of a third of a percent today. But other precious metals enjoyed much more substantial gains, with iShares Silver (NYSEMKT: SLV  ) gaining 1.3% on a $0.30 move up for silver bullion to top the $20 per ounce level. Platinum group metals posted similar gains of 1.2% to 1.6%.

Despite the muted gains for bullion, gold-mining stocks posted gains, with Market Vectors Gold Miners ETF climbing almost 1%. But silver miners were where the action was today, as Hecla Mining (NYSE: HL  ) gained 3%, and Coeur Mining (NYSE: CDE  ) posted a 4% jump. Hecla was mentioned favorably in a Barron's report discussing the January Effect today, noting that the miner qualified for a list of poor-performing stocks that could attract bottom-fishing investors early in the New Year. Still, the moves for both stocks were generally in line with the impact that today's jump in silver would have on their respective operations.

Still, gold will likely continue to face psychological pressure, at least through the end of the year. Absent an unexpected huge move upward for bullion prices, gold is poised to post its worst loss in 32 years, going back to the last time gold prices retreated from an unsustainable spike. By contrast, platinum's losses have been much less severe, and palladium prices have actually posted the tiniest of gains now for 2013.

Outside the precious metals arena, Alcoa (NYSE: AA  ) soared 2.5% after aluminum prices jumped by 3%, its biggest gain since the first of July. Ever since getting kicked out of the Dow Jones Industrials, Alcoa shares have soared, climbing to their best levels in nearly two years today. The jump in aluminum prices suggests that moves from Alcoa and others in the industry to cut production capacity have finally started having their desired impact, and Alcoa has plenty of room to run higher if aluminum continues to recover.

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