COMEX gold for February delivery settled higher by $5.50, or 0.3%, at $1,732.20 per ounce

COMEX gold for February delivery settled higher by $5.50, or 0.3%, at $1,732.20 per ounce.  With its advance, the yellow metal extended its weekly and year-to-date gains to 4.1% and 10.6%, respectively.  Furthermore, gold stretched its weekly win streak to four – which had not occurred since last August.

The U.S. dollar came under further pressure on Friday as the euro climbed amid dissipating sovereign debt concerns in Europe.  The Federal Reserve’s decision this week to extend its zero interest rate policy through 2014 was another key catalyst for the greenback’s slide.  With its decline to as low as 79.12 this afternoon, the U.S. Dollar Index reached its lowest level since December 12, 2011.