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Bullions glitter
18-Jul-19   09:39 Hrs IST

Bullion prices ended higher at Comex on Thursday, 18 July 2019 at Comex. Gold futures notched a fresh six-year high on Thursday, then extended their gains into the electronic trading session on the back of dovish comments from a Federal Reserve official, worsening tensions in the Middle East and a drop in the dollar. Traders also saw comments from New York Fed President John Williams as endorsing an interest-rate cut at the Federal Reserve's policy meeting later this month.

August gold had tacked on $4.80, or 0.3%, to settle at $1,428.10 an ounce on Comex after climbing by 0.9% on Wednesday.

September silver added 22.7 cents, or 1.4%, to end at $16.198 an ounce, representing the latest in a series of sharp gains for gold's sister metal.

On Thursday, the U.S. dollar was down nearly 0.1% at 97.132 as gold futures settled, then dropped to 96.704 by the U.S. stock market close. The 10-year Treasury note TMUBMUSD10Y, +1.02% moved down to yield 2.0254% at the stock market close. Both had traded lower on Wednesday. Fading bond yields and a weaker dollar tend to encourage bids for bullion.

Reviewing Thursday's economic data, it included the weekly Initial and Continuing Claims report, the Philadelphia Fed Index for July, and the Conference Board's Leading Economic Index for June.

Initial claims for the week ending July 13 increased by 8,000, yet they remain at a very low level of 216,000 (consensus 215,000). Continuing claims for the week ending July 6 dropped by 42,000 to 1.686 million. The key takeaway from the report is that it covers the period in which the survey for the July employment report is conducted. The low level of initial claims during the survey week will underpin economists' expectations for another solid increase in nonfarm payrolls.

Also, the Conference Board's Leading Economic Index declined 0.3% in June (consensus 0.0%) following an unchanged reading for May. The 0.3% decline is the first decline since December 2018 and the largest decline since January 2016. The key takeaway from the report is that it suggests growth is apt to remain slow in the second half of the year, according to the Conference Board.

The Philadelphia Fed Index sprung back to life with a 21.8 reading for July (consensus 5.0) that was well ahead of the 0.3 reading for June. The dividing line between expansion and contraction is 0.0.

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