Gold prices inched up on Thursday
Gold prices inched up on Thursday, stuck in a narrow range as investors await manufacturing data from China and the euro zone to assess the health of their economies, while a slightly lower dollar lent some support.
* Spot gold edged up 0.1 percent to $1,651.64 an ounce by 0043 GMT.
* U.S. gold was little changed at $1,651.80.
* U.S. home sales fell in February, but upward revisions to the prior month’s pace and the first yearly increase in prices in 15 months pointed to steady improvement in the housing market.
* Investors will focus on China HSBC flash purchasing managers index data at 0230 GMT, amid recent worries about Chinese economic growth. The euro zone PMI is due at 0858 GMT.
* In India, the world’s largest gold consumers, jewellersremained closed for the fifth day on Wednesday as a protest against an import duty hike on bullion.
* The euro zone debt crisis remains a lurking concern to financial markets. On Wednesday, Spanish yields rose to a one-month high on worries over Spain’s progress towards shoring up its finances.
* U.S. stocks mostly fell on Wednesday, weighed by the energy services sector, but gains in technology shares buoyed the Nasdaq and helped keep the S&P 500 near four-year highs.
* The euro nursed losses in Asia early on Thursday, slipping from a near five-month high on the yen and two-week highs against the greenback after worries over Spain’s finances put fresh pressure on peripheral euro zone bonds. The dollar was a touch softer against a basket of currencies.
* U.S. Treasury prices rallied on Wednesday as heavy buying by the Federal Reserve and a lack of new Treasury supply contributed to demand for the newly cheapened U.S. debt.
DATA/EVENTS 0230 China HSBC PMI Flash Mar 0758 France Markit Mfg Flash PMI Mar 2012 0828 Germany Markit Mfg Flash PMI Mar 2012 0858 EZ Markit Mfg flash PMI Mar 2012 1230 U.S. Jobless claims Weekly PRICES Precious metals prices 0043 GMT Metal Last Change Pct chg YTD pct chg Volume Spot Gold 1651.64 1.69 +0.10 5.62 Spot Silver 32.25 0.13 +0.40 16.47 Spot Platinum 1634.24 0.76 +0.05 17.32 Spot Palladium 684.50 3.97 +0.58 4.90 COMEX GOLD APR2 1651.80 1.50 +0.09 5.43 4860 COMEX SILVER MAY2 32.28 0.05 +0.15 15.62 499 Euro/Dollar 1.3226 Dollar/Yen 83.42 COMEX gold and silver contracts show the most active months
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