Gold Extends Gains as Market Players Digest New Set of U.S. Data

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By Brendel Balaga

Gold futures edged higher on Thursday, as investors focused on a pair of U.S. data to see if they increased or decreased the odds of an interest rate hike in the coming months.

The Labor Department said the number of people who filed for initial jobless benefits declined by 1,000 to 267,000 last week. Analysts projected jobless claims to grow by 2,000 to 270,000.

The report followed ADP’s non-farm private employment report which showed a rise of 173,000 in May. Although May’s numbers is an improvement to April’s 166,000, the growth missed the 175,000 target.

Gold for June delivery in the New York Mercantile Exchange advanced $2.75, or 0.23%, to trade higher at $1,217.45 by 8:39AM ET.

The yellow metal has been under pressure in recent days after the Fed hinted of near-term rate hikes. On the bright side, gold futures are still up roughly 15% so far this year.

Gold prices react poorly to changes in U.S. rates, as a rise typically makes non-yielding assets such as bullion prohibitively expensive and less appealing.

Meanwhile, silver futures for July delivery gained 5.3 cents, or 0.33%, to trade higher at $15.97 a troy ounce during early trading hours in New York, while copper futures shed 0.8 cents, or 0.39%, falling to $2.065 a pound.

Declining Chinese factory activity has weighed heavily on copper prices as it signaled falling demand, given China’s status as the world’s biggest importer of said metal.

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