On Friday, after the government reported that the country created only 69,000 jobs in May, gold rocketed $58 an ounce, partly because investors believed the Fed might step in.
The sharp moves up and down aren’t likely to stop until there’s a clear answer from the Fed, said Jon Nadler, senior analyst at Kitco Metals. That may take until June 20, when the Fed holds its next policy meeting.
“This is a market built on anticipation and little else,” he said.
Michelle Girard, senior U.S. economist with Royal Bank of Scotland, said the Fed may extend a program called Operation Twist, in which it sells short-term securities and buys long-term bonds to drive down long-term interest rates, for a few months. That program is set to expire at the end of this month.
Investor fear has grown recently that Greece will leave the euro currency union, triggering a financial a panic in Europe and dragging down the rest of the world economy.
Some fear over Europe was allayed Thursday when Spain raised $2.6 billion from the bond market. The interest rate on its benchmark 10-year note fell to 6.02 percent from 6.26 percent late Wednesday in trading on the secondary market, a sign that bond investors have more confidence in Spain’s finances.
Among stocks making big moves in the U.S.:
• Pharmacyclics Inc. rose $1.96, or 6 percent, to $36.73 after an analyst predicted that the company’s experimental lymphoma drug could grow into a blockbuster product.
• Molina Healthcare, an insurance company, plunged $7.99, or 31 percent, to $17.77 after it withdrew its 2012 profit forecast, citing a possible revenue shortfall in Texas.
• Men’s Wearhouse dropped $6.72, or 19 percent, to $28.85 after reporting disappointing financial results and issuing a weak forecast for its second quarter.