By Ira Iosebashvili
Gold prices rose Friday, after a weaker-than-expected U.S. employment number bolstered the case for the Federal Reserve to slow the tempo of its interest rate increases.
Gold for February delivery was recently up 0.4% at $1,249.60 a troy ounce on the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange.
U.S. nonfarm payrolls increased a seasonally adjusted 155,000 in November, the Labor Department said Friday. Economists surveyed by The Wall Street Journal had expected 198,000 new jobs. The unemployment rate held steady at 3.7% last month, matching the lowest rate since December 1969. Year-over-year wage growth matched the prior month's 3.1% pace as the best rate since 2009.
Some investors believe the narrow miss in the November jobs data could force the Fed to raise rates at a slower pace next year to avoid stifling economic growth. Expectations that rates will rise at a slower clip tend to boost gold, which struggles to compete with yield-bearing investments when borrowing costs move higher.
"This report leans slightly in favor of the U.S. monetary policy doves who would prefer the Federal Reserve tighten money policy at a slower pace," analysts at Kitco Metals said in a note to clients.
Turbulent stock and bond markets have in recent months boosted gold, a popular destination for worried investors. Prices are up 3.5% over the last three months.
In base metals, copper for March delivery rose 0.5% to $2.7565 a pound.
Write to David Hodari at David.Hodari@wsj.com