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Gold Fails To Hold Gains, Settles Lower

Gold futures pared early gains and settled lower on Thursday as the dollar rebounded from earlier weakness.

Traders were looking ahead to the Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell's comments at the Economic Club of Washington, D.C.

Gold held steady earlier in the day, extending gains from the previous session and the greenback was subdued after the minutes of the central bank's December meeting suggested a likely pause in monetary tightening this year. Most of the Fed members were looking for greater clarity on the economic condition before further rate hikes, the minuted said.

Today, the dollar gained in strength after earlier weakness and moved higher against most major currencies. The dollar index recovered from 94.63 and was hovering around 95.10, gaining about 0.3%.

Gold futures for February ended down $4.60, or 0.4%, at $1,287.40 an ounce.

On Wednesday, gold futures ended up $6.10, or 0.5%, at $1,292.00 an ounce.

Silver futures for March ended at $15.643 an ounce, down $0.092 from previous close.

Copper futures for March settled at $2.637 per pound, down $0.020 from Wednesday's close.

In economic news, data released by the Labor Department showed a bigger than expected drop in initial jobless claims in the week ended January 5th. The report said initial jobless claims fell to 216,000, a decrease of 17,000 from the previous week's revised level of 233,000. Economists had expected jobless claims to dip to 225,000 from the 231.000 originally reported for the previous week.

Meanwhile, trade talks between the U.S. and China concluded yesterday with no significant breakthroughs. A statement from the office of U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer said the talks included discussions on China's pledge to purchase a substantial amount of U.S. goods and services but did not provide details about the tone or outcome of the meetings.

A statement from China's Commerce Ministry described the talks as "extensive, in-depth and detailed" and said the meetings "laid a foundation for the resolution of each others' concerns."

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