The XAU/USD pair (Gold vs. the American dollar) scored a gain of 1.05% on Friday after the bulls managed to push prices above the $1297 resistance level. Much of the volatility was driven by rising tensions along the Russia/Ukraine border and escalating violence in Gaza. European Union officials, who believe that Russia is intervening more aggressively in fighting between the Ukrainian military and separatist, said EU governments agreed to impose more crippling sanctions that target large sectors of Russian economy, including finance and energy.
Headlines from the region offset a better-than-expected reading on durable-goods orders and lifted the XAU/USD pair back above $1303 an ounce. Friday's data from the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) showed that speculative traders on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange increased their net-long positions in gold to 146146 contracts, from 142458 a week earlier.
The Federal Reserve will be on market players' radars for the week as a two-day meeting of its policy-setting committee kicks off Tuesday. Although the XAU/USD pair currently trades below the Ichimoku cloud on the 4-hour time frame, the market remains above the cloud on the daily chart. Because of that I will not consider this pair truly bearish until we sink below the 1286/77 area. If the bears intend to head towards that zone, they will have to force market to a close below the 1292 support level (also happens to be 50% retracement based on the distance between 1240.49 and 1344.92 ) on a daily basis at least. In order to expand their territory, the bulls will need to break through the 1312/18.50 resistance area. In that case, they might have enough fuel to reach the next barrier at 1324.50.