Gold Futures Settle Lower For 3rd Straight Day

Gold futures settled lower on Thursday, extending losses to a third straight session as demand for the safe-haven commodity dropped due to a firm dollar and some buoyant economic data.

Minutes from the Federal Reserve's July meeting that suggested the central bank will likely start tapering its bond buying program later this year also contributed to the yellow metal's decline.

The dollar index climbed to 93.53, gaining more than 0.4%.

Gold futures for December ended down by $1.30 at $1,783.10 an ounce.

Silver futures for December ended lower by $0.191 at $23.279 an ounce, while Copper futures for December settled at $4.0435 per pound, down $0.0765 from the previous close.

A report released by the Labor Department on Thursday showed a continued decrease in first-time claims for U.S. unemployment benefits in the week ended August 14th.

The report said initial jobless claims fell to 348,000, a decrease of 29,000 from the previous week's revised level or 377,000. Economists had expected jobless claims to edge down to 363,000 from the 375,000 originally reported for the previous week.

The Conference Board released a separate report on Thursday showing its index of leading U.S. economic indicators increased by slightly more than expected in the month of July. The Conference Board said its leading economic index advanced by 0.9% in July after rising by a downwardly revised 0.5% in June.

Economists had expected the index to climb by 0.8% compared to the 0.7% increase originally reported for the previous month.

The Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia also released a report on Thursday showing an unexpected slowdown in the pace of growth in regional manufacturing activity.

The Philly Fed said its diffusion index for current activity slipped to 19.4 in August from 21.9 in July. A positive reading still indicates growth, but economists had been expecting the index to inch up to 23.0.

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