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Gold Futures Settle At 3-week High As Stocks Tumble On Growth Worries

Gold futures settled at a 3-week high on Friday, as traders picked up the safe haven commodity, after disappointing economic data from Europe weighed on risk appetite and knocked the wind out of equities.

Continued uncertainty about Brexit and U.S.-China trade talks hurt as well.

Gold prices edged higher even as the dollar stayed strong against most major currencies. The dollar index rose to 96.81 and was last seen around 96.65, up by about 0.7% from previous close.

Gold futures for April ended up $5.00, or 0.4%, at $1,312.30 an ounce, the highest settlement since February 28.

On Thursday, gold futures for May ended at $1,307.30 an ounce, gaining $5.60, or 0.4%. For the week, gold futures gained 0.7%

Silver futures for May ended down $0.030, at $15.407 an ounce, while Copper futures for May ended at $2.8424 per pound, gaining $0.0635 for the session.

Markets in Asia, Europe and the U.S. tumbled on disappointing economic data and U.S.-China trade uncertainty.

Ahead of another round of high-level talks in Beijing next week, there are still divisions over tariffs.

The U.S. President Donald Trump said earlier this week that his administration would leave tariffs on Chinese products in place even if the two sides reach an agreement.

In stark contrast, China wants an immediate end to all tariffs.

On the Brexit front, EU leaders have agreed on a plan to delay the Article 50 process for another two weeks until April 12.

Prime Minister Theresa May will have an extra two months until May 22 if she builds support for pushing her withdrawal deal through Parliament.

In economic news from Europe, the composite PMI for the euro zone declined from 51.9 to 51.3 in March, giving little hope of recovery in the first quarter.

Germany's private sector growth in March slowed to its lowest level in six years. In France, service sector growth dropped to its slowest pace in two months.

In U.S. economic news, a report from the National Association of Realtors showed a substantial rebound in existing home sales in the month of February.

NAR said existing home sales soared by 11.8% to an annual rate of 5.51 million in February after slumping by 1.4% to a revised rate of 4.93 million in January. Economists had expected existing home sales to surge up by 3.2%.

According to data released by the Commerce Department, wholesale inventories in the U.S. increased by much more than anticipated in the month of January, rising 1.2%, after jumping by 1.1% in December. Economists had expected inventories to rise by 0.2%.

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