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Gold Futures Settle Lower For 2nd Straight Day

Gold prices drifted lower on Thursday, extending losses from previous session, as traders continued to seek riskier assets amid easing concerns about U.S.-Iran standoff.

A firm dollar and positive news on the trade front contributed as well to gold's decline.

The dollar index pared some gains, having eased to 97.44 from a high of 97.56 touched a little before noon, but was still holding in positive territory, gaining about 0.14%.

Gold futures for February ended down $5.90, or about 0.4%, at $1,554.30 an ounce.

On Wednesday, gold futures for February snapped a 10-day winning streak and ended down $14.10, or 0.9%, at $1,560.20 an ounce.

Silver futures for March ended down $0.231 at $17.936 an ounce, while Copper futures for March ended at $2.8020 per pound, down $0.0100 from previous close.

Worries about U.S.-Iran tensions subsided after U.S. President Donald Trump said that there were no American casualties as a result of Iran's missile strikes on Iraqi military bases housing U.S. troops and that the U.S. would hit Iran with new sanctions but not respond militarily.

Tehran said the strikes "concluded" its response to the Soleimani killing.

U.S. Ambassador Kelly Craft told the UN that America stands "ready to engage without preconditions in serious negotiations with Iran, with the goal of preventing further endangerment of international peace and security or escalation by the Iranian regime".

Iran's UN Ambassador Majid Takht Ravanchi wrote that Tehran "does not seek escalation or war" after exercising its right to self-defense by taking a "measured and proportionate military response targeting an American air base in Iraq".

In economic news, data released by the Labor Department showed first-time claims for U.S. unemployment benefits fell by more than expected in the week ended January 4th.

The report said initial jobless claims dropped to 214,000, a decrease of 9,000 from the previous week's revised level of 223,000.

Economists had expected jobless claims to edge down to 220,000 from the 222,000 originally reported for the previous week.

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