Gold up on weaker US equities

Chicago, Feb 19 (IANS) Gold futures on the COMEX division of the New York Mercantile Exchange rose on Thursday as the US equities fell again despite upbeat jobless data.

The most active gold contract for April delivery rose $14.9, or 1.23 percent, to settle at $1,226.30 per ounce.

The US Dow Jones Industrial Average fell eight points, or 0.05 percent, as technical trading put pressure on the US equities, reports Xinhua.

The retreat in equities will dampen risk appetite of investors and drive them toward safe-haven assets, including gold, and the opposite is true when the US equities post gains, analysts noted.

Also on Thursday, the US Department of Labour said initial jobless claims fell 7,000 to 262,000 during the week ending on February 13. The better-than-expected figure put gold under some pressure.

Gold was given support as a report released by the Philadelphia branch of the US Federal Reserve showed weakness in factory manufacturing. Analysts said the general business conditions index fell to negative 2.8 which is a continued downtrend.

New orders, which were read at negative 5.3, and unfilled orders, at negative 12.7, are both worse-than-expected, analysts said.

Energy prices were holding steady on Thursday after Iran hinted that it would welcome an oil production freeze. The news has propped up the market as the US energy sector has dragged down the US equities recently.

The precious metal was prevented from rising further as the US dollar index, a measure of the dollar against a basket of major currencies, rose by 0.08 to 96.94.

Silver for March delivery added 5.5 cents, or 0.36 percent, to $15.432 per ounce. Platinum for April delivery fell $4.1, or 0.43 percent, to $945.60 per ounce.

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