Gold futures on the COMEX division of the New York Mercantile Exchange ended lower on Friday amid profit taking, but still scored their third straight weekly gain.
The most active gold contract for August delivery fell 7.3 dollars, or 0.55 percent, to settle at 1,321.5 dollars per ounce. Over the past three weeks, tracking the most-active contract, gold price tallied a rise of 8.8 percent, according to MarketWatch.
Market analysts believe, gold's losses on the day could be attributed to nervous longs taking profits ahead of big data points released next week including interest rates and the U.S. jobs number. The U.S. Federal Reserve will announce its policy decision on Wednesday, as will the European Central Bank and Bank of England on Thursday, and the U.S. Labor Department will release its widely watched monthly jobs report on Friday, according to reports.
Furthermore, some analysts say, physical purchases of gold have slowed in the past two weeks as higher prices deterred demand. Prices have climbed for three weeks as U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke said it's too early to decide whether to scale back on stimulus to boost the economy.
Against this background, silver for September delivery fell 38. 3 cents, or 1.90 percent, to close at 19.771 dollars per ounce.