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Gold Futures Settle Sharply Lower

Gold prices fell on Wednesday, a day after closing at a nearly 9-year high, as profit taking and upbeat data on U.S. private sector employment and manufacturing activity weighed on the commodity.

However, the dollar's weakness and uncertainty about the pace of economic recovery amid rapidly surging coronavirus infections across the U.S. and several other countries limited gold's slide.

The dollar index, which slipped to 97.03, was last seen at 97.13, down 0.27% from the previous close.

Gold futures for August ended down $20.60 or about 1.1% at $1,779.90 an ounce. The contract ended at $1,800.50 an ounce on Tuesday, recording the highest close for a front-month contract since the second week of September 2011.

Silver futures for September ended down $0.420 or about 2.3% at $18.218 an ounce, while Copper futures for September closed at $2.7340 per pound, gaining $0.0055 or 0.2% for the session.

A report from the Institute for Supply Management showed U.S. manufacturing activity unexpectedly expanded in the month of June. The ISM said its purchasing managers index jumped to 52.6 in June from 43.1 in May, with a reading above 50 indicating an expansion in manufacturing activity.

Economists had expected the index to climb to 49.5, which have still indicated a modest contraction in manufacturing activity.

A separate report released by payroll processor ADP showed a significant increase in private sector employment in the month of June as well as a substantial upward revision to the data for May.

ADP said private sector employment jumped by 2.369 million jobs in June, which was below economist estimates for a spike of about 3.000 million jobs.

However, revised data showed private sector employment soared by 3.065 million jobs in May compared to the previously reported loss of 2.760 million jobs.

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