Gold Fails To Hold Early Gains, Settles Lower For 3rd Straight Day

Gold futures settled lower on Thursday, extending losses to a third straight session, amid expectations global central banks will cut interest rates, aiming to boost growth.

Traders were also tracking news on the virus front.

Gold futures for April ended down $0.60, or about 0.04%, at $1,642.50 an ounce.

On Wednesday, gold futures for April ended down $6.90, or 0.4%, at $1,643.10 an ounce, after losing $26.70, or 1.6%, a session earlier.

Silver futures for May ended down $0.179 at $17.735 an ounce, while Copper futures for May settled at $2.5715 per pound, down marginally from previous close.

Meanwhile, the dollar index dropped to 98.45, down 0.54% from Wednesday's close.

In economic news, first-time claims for U.S. unemployment benefits climbed by more than expected in the week ended February 22nd, according to a report released by the Labor Department on Thursday.

The report said initial jobless claims rose to 219,000, an increase of 8,000 from the previous week's revised level of 211,000. Economists had expected jobless claims to inch up to 212,000 from the 210,000 originally reported for the previous week.

A report from the Commerce Department said durable goods orders edged down by 0.2% in January after spiking by an upwardly revised 2.9% in December. Economists had expected durable goods orders to slump by 1.5% compared to the 2.4% jump that had been reported for the previous month.

Another report from the Commerce Department said real gross domestic product increased by 2.1% in the fourth quarter, unchanged from the estimate provided last month.

Meanwhile, the number of coronavirus infections outside China, the source of the outbreak, for the first time surpassed those appearing in the country.

Officials are scrambling to contain the outbreak in Italy, which has reported 12 deaths and 400 confirmed cases in Europe's worst outbreak of the virus.

More than 18 cases of the virus have been confirmed in both Germany and France, while two French patients have died from the disease.

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