Gold Futures Settle Lower For 3rd Straight Day

Gold futures settled lower on Thursday, losing for a third straight session amid rising prospects of sharper interest rate hikes by the Federal Reserve. Higher bond yields weighed as well on gold prices.

The dollar, which slipped during the Asian session and saw a long weak spell, emerged above the flat line in late morning trades and rose to 100.62 before paring some gains.

Yields on 10-year bonds rose across Europe after European Central Bank Vice President Luis de Guindos supported a rate hike as early as July.

Meanwhile, Fed Chair Jerome Powell has commented that "50 bps rate hikes are on the table," emphasizing the central bank's commitment to achieving its 2% inflation target.

Powell also noted that many at the Fed thought 50 bps rate hikes would be appropriate going forward, echoing the remarks of many of his FOMC colleagues in recent days.

Gold futures for June ended lower by $7.40 or about 0.4% at $1,948.20 an ounce.

Silver futures for May ended down by $0.650 at $24.621 an ounce, while Copper futures for May settled at $4.7040 per pound, gaining $0.0520.

In U.S. economic releases today, data from the Labor Department showed initial jobless claims edged down to 184,000 in the week ended April 16th, a decrease of 2,000 from the previous week's revised level of 186,000. Economists had expected jobless claims to dip to 180,000 from the 185,000 originally reported for the previous week.

Meanwhile, a separate from the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia showed growth in Philadelphia-area manufacturing activity slowed more than expected in the month of April.

The Philly Fed said its diffusion index for current activity slumped to 17.6 in April from 27.4 in March. While a positive reading still indicates growth, economists had expected the index to show a more modest drop to 21.0.

The Conference Board also released a report showing its reading on leading U.S. economic indicators increased in line with economist estimates in the month of March.

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