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Gold Prices Give Back Ground After Yesterday's Jump

Following the sharp increase seen in the previous session, the price of gold gave back some ground during trading on Wednesday.

Gold for February delivery slipped $4.20 or 0.3 percent to $1,480.20 an ounce after jumping $15.20 or 1 percent to $1,484.40 an ounce on Tuesday.

The pullback by the price of the precious metal came amid renewed optimism about trade after a report from Bloomberg News indicated the U.S. and China are moving closer to agreeing on the amount of tariffs that would be rolled back in a phase one trade deal.

Citing people familiar with the talks, Bloomberg said U.S. negotiators expect a phase one deal to be completed before U.S. tariffs are set to rise on December 15.

The people told Bloomberg outstanding issues in the talks include how to guarantee China's purchases of U.S. agricultural goods and exactly which tariffs to roll back.

Bloomberg said the people downplayed President Donald Trump's recent remarks suggesting he would like to delay completing an agreement until after the 2020 elections, noting the president was speaking off the cuff.

Selling pressure was relatively subdued, however, as traders also digested some disappointing U.S. economic data, including a report from payroll processor ADP showing much weaker than expected private sector job growth in the month of November.

ADP said private sector employment rose by 67,000 jobs in November after climbing by a revised 121,000 jobs in October.

Economists had expected employment to jump by 140,000 jobs compared to the addition of 125,000 jobs originally reported for the previous month.

"The job market is losing its shine," said Mark Zandi, chief economist of Moody's Analytics. "Job openings are declining and if job growth slows any further unemployment will increase."

A separate report released by the Institute for Supply Management showed the pace of growth in U.S. service sector activity slowed by more than anticipated in the month of November.

The ISM said its non-manufacturing index dipped to 53.9 in November after climbing to 54.7 in October. While a reading above 50 still indicates service sector growth, economists had expected the index to edge down to 54.5.

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