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Gold Futures End Marginally Down

Gold futures ended slightly lower on Thursday, as the dollar gained in strength on fairly buoyant economic data.

The dollar index gained about 0.5%, rising to 97.48, riding on stronger than expected jump in U.S. retail sales in March.

Gold futures for June ended down $0.80, or about 0.06%, at $1,276.00 an ounce, the lowest settlement since late December 2018.

On Wednesday, gold futures for June ended down $0.60, at $1,276.60 an ounce. Gold futures shed about 1.5% in the holiday-shortened week, going down for a fourth straight week.

Silver futures for May ended up $0.016, at $14.955 an ounce, while Copper futures for May settled at $2.9200 per pound, down $0.0475 from previous close.

In economic news, the Conference Board's leading economic index climbed by a more than expected 0.4% in March, after inching up by a revised 0.1% in February. Economists had expected the index to rise by 0.3% compared to the 0.2% uptick originally reported for the previous month.

A report from the Labor Department showed initial jobless claims in the U.S. unexpectedly edged lower in the week ended April 13th. The data said jobless claims dropped by 5,000 to 192,000 in the month, the lowest level since hitting 182,000 in September of 1969.

Economists had expected jobless claims to rise to 205,000 from the 196,000 originally reported in the previous week.

According to a report from the Commerce Department, retail sales in the U.S. spiked by much more than expected in the month of March, soaring by 1.6%, after edging down by 0.2% in February. Economists had expected retail sales to climb by 0.9%.

Meanwhile, a report released by the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia showed the pace of growth in regional manufacturing slowed by more than anticipated in the month of April following a significant rebound in the previous month.

The Philly Fed said its index for current manufacturing activity in the region dropped to 8.5 in April after jumping to 13.7 in March.

In Eurozone news, eurozone private sector expanded at the slowest pace for the second successive month in April as manufacturing contracted and service sector growth slowed, preliminary data from the IHS Markit survey showed.

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