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Gold Futures Settle At Over 2-week High

Gold prices climbed higher on Thursday on safe-haven appeal after global stock markets drifted lower amid mounting worries about the impact of the coronavirus outbreak in China.

Gold prices advanced despite a fairly steady dollar. The dollar index rose to 97.72, gaining about 0.2%.

Gold futures for February ended up $8.70, or about 0.6%, at $1,565.40 an ounce, the highest settlement since January 7.

On Wednesday, gold futures for February ended down $1.20, or 0.08%, at $1,556.70 an ounce.

Silver futures for March ended marginally up at $17.839 an ounce, while Copper futures for March settled at $2.7260 per pound, down $0.0390 from previous close.

Traders continued to keep an eye on the new coronavirus outbreak in China that has spread from Wuhan to several Chinese provinces.

According to reports, deaths from the virus rose to 17 on Wednesday, with nearly 600 cases confirmed. Market participants remain worried about the contagion as the week-long Lunar New Year holidays starts on Friday, when millions of Chinese travel domestically and abroad.

In U.S. economic news, data from the Labor Department showed first-time claims for U.S. unemployment benefits rose to 211,000, an increase of 6,000 from the previous week's revised level of 205,000.

Economists had expected jobless claims to climb to 215,000 from the 204,000 originally reported for the previous week.

The Conference Board released a report showing a slightly bigger than expected decrease by its index of leading U.S. economic indicators.

The Conference Board said its leading economic index fell by 0.3% in December after inching up by a revised 0.1% in November

Economists had expected the leading economic index to dip by 0.2% compared to the unchanged reading originally reported for the previous month.

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