Gold prices settled with a modest loss on Friday, holding above the key $1,300 an ounce as uncertainty surrounding geopolitical risks tied to North Korea helped to offset pressure from a stronger U.S. dollar. The settlement above $1,300 "may indicate the worst of the selling is over," said Mark O'Byrne, research director at GoldCore. "Despite the short term technical risks, the medium and long term outlook remains bullish. Elevated geopolitical risk should see safe haven demand remain robust." June gold fell 70 cents, or less than 0.1%, to settle at $1,303.70 an ounce. It rose roughly 1% for the week.
Baker Hughes on Friday reported that the number of active U.S. rigs drilling for oil was up 15 at 859 this week. That was the largest weekly rise since the week ended Feb. 9. The total active U.S. rig count, which includes oil and natural-gas rigs, climbed by 13 to 1,059, according to Baker Hughes. July West Texas Intermediate crude fell further after the rig data, down $3.10, or 4.4%, to $67.61 a barrel, compared with $67.75 a barrel before the Baker Hughes numbers.
PepsiCo Inc. said Friday that it has reached an agreement to acquire Bare Foods Co., a U.S.-based food company making fruit- and vegetable-based snacks. Details of the transaction were not disclosed. Bare Foods, which does business as Bare Snacks, was founded in 2001 by a family-owned apple farm in Washington state, selling packaged baked apple chips. It has expanded into other fruits and, more recently, vegetables. When the deal closes, Bare Foods will continue to operate independently out of its San Francisco headquarters. PepsiCo shares are down 15% for the past year while the S&P 500 index is up 12.7% for the period.
The Trump administration has told lawmakers it reached a deal that would keep Chinese telecom firm ZTE alive, the New York Times reported, citing a person familiar with the matter. Under the agreement brokered by the Commerce Department, ZTE would pay a substantial fine, hire American compliance officers to be placed at the firm and make changes to its current management team, the report said. In return, the Commerce Department would lift what's known as a denial order that is now preventing ZTE from buying American products. ZTE was banned from buying U.S. technology components for seven years, as punishment for violating U.S. sanctions against Iran and North Korea.
Crude-oil prices plunged Friday midday, putting the commodity on the brink of sliding below a closely followed trend line, with oil futures taking a beating on news that the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and Russia are considering lifting production caps. Most recently, June oil futures were recently down 4.3% at $67.67 a barrel, just above its 50-day moving average at $67.54, according to FactSet data. Market technicians sometimes use moving averages as a dividing line between bullish and bearish momentum in an asset. West Texas Intermediate crude oil trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange--the U.S. benchmark--hasn't broken below its 50-day moving average since early April. To be sure, oil has been a strong performer, of late, last week hitting a 3 1/2-year peak and rising 6.6% over the past three months, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average is down 2.2% over the same period and the S&P 500 index has lost 1%.