- Gold prices fluctuated near the previous session’s two-week high on Thursday, ahead of the release of key U.S. data later in the session and as investors monitored developments in Iraq.

On the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange, gold for August delivery traded in a narrow range between $1,260.10 and $1,262.50 a troy ounce. Prices last traded at $1,261.30 during European morning hours, up 0.01%, or 10 cents.

Gold rose to $1,265.50 on Wednesday, the most since May 28, before coming off the highs to settle at $1,261.20, up 0.09%, or $1.10.

Prices were likely to find support at $1,241.20 an ounce, the low from June 5 and near-term resistance at $1,267.50, the high from May 28.

Market participants were looking ahead to U.S. data on jobless claims and retail sales later in the trading day, after recent economic reports have indicated that the economy is shaking off the effects of the severe winter.

Gold remained supported after insurgents linked to al-Qaeda seized the northern cities of Mosul and Tikrit on Wednesday. The U.S. said that it is working with Iraq''s leaders on a coordinated response to regain lost territory and would provide additional assistance to Baghdad.

Also on the Comex, silver for July delivery inched up 0.15%, or 2.8 cents, to trade at $19.20 a troy ounce.

Elsewhere in metals trading, copper for July delivery dipped 0.14%, or 0.4 cents, to trade at $3.036 a pound.

Prices of the red metal have been under heavy selling pressure in recent sessions as traders worried about the outcome of a Chinese investigation into commodities-fueled financing deals that could hurt demand for the industrial metal.

Concerns about fraud in commodities markets spread to a second Chinese port of Penglai earlier this week after authorities began conducting a probe into allegations of fraud in the port of Qingdao last week.

Copper is used as collateral by companies and investors in China, in an effort to work around strict lending standards enforced by Beijing.

The Asian nation is the world’s largest copper consumer, accounting for almost 40% of world consumption last year.

Please LIKE our Facebook page - it makes us stronger