Gold futures settled lower Thursday, with the dollar strengthening against a basket of major currencies and a declining U.S. equity market. Gold prices were also impacted by some soft economic data globally and on profit taking following recent gains made by the precious metal.
Gold for December delivery, the most actively traded contract, shed $1.50 or 0.1 percent to close at $1770.20 an ounce Thursday on the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange.
Gold for December delivery traded at an intraday high of $1,781.80 and a low of $1,764.20 an ounce.
Yesterday, gold settled a tad higher lacking direction despite some encouraging economic data from the U.S. on home sales and housing starts.
The euro traded higher against the dollar at $1.2952 on Thursday, as compared to $1.3049 late Wednesday in North America. The euro scaled a high of $1.3059 intraday and a low of $1.2922.
The dollar index, which tracks the U.S. unit against six major currencies, traded at 79.51 on Thursday, up from 79.11 in North American trade late Wednesday. The dollar scaled a high of 79.66 intraday and a low of 79.06.
In economic news from the U.S., the Labor Department said that jobless claims edged down to 382,000 in the week ended September 15 from the previous week's revised figure of 385,000. Economists had expected jobless claims to drop to 373,000 from the 382,000 originally reported for the previous week.
The Conference Board said the U.S. leading economic index edged down by 0.1 percent in August following a revised 0.5 percent increase in July. Economists expected the index to come in flat compared to the 0.4 percent increase originally reported for the previous month.
Elsewhere, manufacturing activity in China contracted for the eleventh month in a row, but at a slower pace compared to August, according to preliminary data from HSBC. The HSBC's "flash" Purchasing Mangers' Index read 47.8, an increase from a final reading of 47.6 for the previous month. This was, however, was below the reading in July.
Manufacturing firms in the mid-Atlantic region reported nearly flat business activity in September, a report by the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia showed. The Philly Fed's diffusion index of current activity rose to a negative 1.9 in September from a negative 7.1 in August. While a negative reading still indicates a contraction in regional manufacturing activity, economists had expected the index to show a more modest increase to a negative 4.0.
Eurozone consumer confidence unexpectedly declined in September, down for a fourth straight month, preliminary data from the European Commission showed Thursday. The consumer confidence indicator for the 17-nation economy slid to -25.9 from August's -24.6. Economists had expected the index to climb to -24. The measure for the whole EU also declined in September, falling to -23.9 from -22.7 last month.
Activity in eurozone's manufacturing sector decreased at a slower pace in September, data from Markit Economics showed. The seasonally adjusted purchasing managers' index for the manufacturing sector rose to a six-month high of 46 in September from 45.1 in August, but remained below the no-change 50 mark that separates growth from contraction. Economists expected the index to rise to 45.5.
Separately, Markit Economics said Germany's manufacturing sector contracted further in September, but at a slower rate. The seasonally adjusted purchasing managers index for the manufacturing sector rose to 47.3 in September from 44.7 in August, and hit the highest level in six months. The latest contraction was the least marked since the current period of contraction started in April.
by RTT Staff Writer
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