Metals Stocks: Gold inches lower ahead of U.S. economic reports, holds above $1,500

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Gold prices on Thursday were retreating slightly, as the precious metal struggled to extend a recent stretch of gains to a third consecutive session that had been supported by worries about the health of the global economy.

December gold GCZ19, -0.05% on Comex fell $1.80, or less than 0.1%, higher at $1,506.10 an ounce, after rising 1.3% on Wednesday.

Meanwhile, December silver SIZ19, -0.81%  lost 10 cents, or 0.6%, to $17.585 an ounce, after a 2.2% rally in the prior session.

For the week thus far, gold is little changed, gaining less than 0.1%, while silver has edged back by about 0.2%.

Weaker-than-expected global economic data and developments on the international trade front have supported some buying of assets considered havens, like gold, but strength in the U.S. dollar, also drawing some safety bids, has muted some of the advance for precious metals.

The ICE U.S. Dollar Index DXY, -0.08%, a gauge of the greenback against six currency rivals, has been trading around a two-year high at 99.05. Strength in the dollar can dull appetite for commodities priced in the U.S. unit.

Investors on Thursday will be focused o n the Institute for Supply Management’s 10 a.m. Eastern time non-manufacturing, or services, report. Economists surveyed by MarketWatch a reading of 55.3 in September. Any number above 50 reflects an expansion in activity. The data come after a weak ISM manufacturing reading on Tuesday, the weakest in a decade.

Trade tensions also were giving lift to bullion. On Wednesday, U.S. also announced $7.5 billion in tariffs on import duties from the European Union.

“Gold rebounded to $1,500 on the back of new trade tension. The new US tariffs against the EU generated a sell off on the stock market and bullion found strength as investors were moving once again towards safe haven assets,” said Carlo Alberto De Casa, chief analyst at ActivTrade.

“From a technical point of view, the next few days will be crucial for understanding the strength of this rebound and if bullion can hold $1,500,” he said.

Ahead of more closely followed data, a reading on U.S. weekly jobless claims. showed people applying for jobless benefits at the end of September rose to a one-month high of 219,000, partly reflecting a three-week-old strike at General Motors that has idled tens of thousands of workers. The report comes ahead of a U.S. nonfarm-payrolls report on Friday that will hold new significance given reports of weakness in manufacturing and a weaker-than-expected private-sector report from Automatic Data Processing Inc. on Wednesday.