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Gold Futures Settle Lower As Dollar Advances

Gold futures settled lower on Thursday after two straight days of gains, as the dollar firmed against major currencies with traders looking ahead to U.S. inflation data and the Federal Reserve's upcoming monetary policy meeting.

Traders also continued to track updates about the Omicron variant of the coronavirus and news about the efficacy of existing vaccines.

The dollar index climbed to 96.34 and despite subsequently paring some gains was up nearly 0.35% at 96.23.

Gold futures for February ended down by $8.80 or about 0.5% at $1,776.70 an ounce.

Silver futures for March ended lower by $0.419 at $22.013 an ounce, while Copper futures for March settled at $4.3330 per pound, down $0.0605 from the previous session.

Investors digested preliminary results suggesting that a third dose of the Covid-19 vaccine produced by Pfizer and BioNTech was able to neutralize the Omicron variant.

The companies said that three doses could provide protection to a level similar to the initial two dose series. The results helped soothe worries about the severity of the disease and its impact on the global economic recovery.

Data on U.S. inflation for the month of November is due on Friday. The inflation data is likely to influence the central bank's interest rate trajectory.

Fed Chair Jerome Powell said last week that the central bank is considering accelerating the tapering of bond purchases, which will be put into a discussion at the meeting next week.

Meanwhile, data from the Labor Department today showed initial jobless claims slid to 184,000 in the week ended December 4, a decrease of 43,000 from the previous week's revised level of 227,000. Economists had expected jobless claims to edge down to 215,000 from the 222,000 originally reported for the previous week.

With the bigger than expected decrease, jobless claims dropped to their lowest level since hitting 182,000 in September of 1969.

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