After last year’s savage repudiation, the SPDR Gold Shares (NYSEArca: GLD) and rival gold funds are off to a better start in 2014.

GLD, the largest gold ETF backed by physical holdings of bullion, traded slightly higher on Monday on above average volume. That means GLD has traded higher in each of 2014’s three trading sessions and is higher by about 2.7% over the past week.

After last year’s drubbing, one that brought a resounding end to gold’s 12-year bull market, market participants were concerned that an improving U.S. economy, rising animal spirits and confirmation of Federal Reserve tapering would spell another down year for GLD and friends in 2014. [Commodities ETFs Search for Strong End to Bad Year]

At the very least, gold, GLD and related ETFs have found firmer footing to start the new year. Fifteen analysts surveyed by Bloomberg News expect gold to rise this week, two are bearish and four neutral, the highest proportion of bulls since December 2012, reports Nicholas Larkin for Bloomberg.

On the fundamental side, physical demand is expected to remain robust in Asia and India is mulling relaxed tariffs on gold to curb smuggling of the yellow metal into the country, which is one of the world’s largest gold consumers.

Technical analysts also see possible upside for bullion. GLD may have made a double bottom in the $115 area and is showing a bullish relative strength index divergence and a possible bull wedge, according to Captain John Charts.

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