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Gold Futures End Sharply Higher

Gold prices moved higher on Thursday, rebounding from losses in the previous two sessions, amid concerns about the economy after data showed unemployment claims remained at an elevated level last week. Traders were also reacting to the private sector employment data.

The dollar's weakness further supported the yellow metal's uptick. The dollar index dropped to 99.81, losing about 0.28% from previous close.

Gold futures for June ended up $37.30, or about 2.2%, at $1,725.80 an ounce.

Silver futures for July ended up $0.575 at $15.590 an ounce, while copper futures for July settled at $2.3805 per pound, gaining $0.0325 for the session.

Data showed U.S. private sector employment plunged by as much as 20.236 million jobs in April.

Job losses of this scale are unprecedented and even that estimate may undershoot the full extent of America's unemployment crisis, analysts said.

The ADP report warned that, because it relies mostly on data collected early in the month, its data "does not reflect the full impact of Covid-19 on the overall employment situation."

According to the data released by the Labor Department on Thursday morning, first-time claims for U.S. unemployment benefits pulled back further off their recent record high in the week ended May 2nd, although claims remain at an elevated level and came in above economist estimates.

The report said initial jobless claims dropped to 3.169 million, a decrease of 677,000 from the previous week's revised level of 3.846 million.

Economists had expected jobless claims to tumble to 3.000 million from the 3.839 million originally reported for the previous week.

While jobless claims have declined steadily since hitting a record high of 6.867 million in the week ended March 28th, the total number of new claims since the coronavirus-induced shutdown has now reached 33.5 million.

A separate report released by the Labor Department on Thursday showed U.S. labor productivity slumped by 2.5% in the first quarter after jumping by 1.2% in the fourth quarter of 2019. Economists had expected productivity to plunge by 5.5%.

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