- Gold futures held steady on Friday, hovering near one-week highs as markets awaited the release of U.S. nonfarm payrolls data later in the day after Thursday''s jobless claims report disappointed market expectations.

On the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange, gold for August delivery traded at $1,252.80 a troy ounce during European afternoon trade, down 0.05%.

The August contract settled 0.72% higher on Thursday to end at $1,253.3 a troy ounce.

Gold futures were likely to find support at $1,242.80 an ounce, the low from June 4 and resistance at $1,267.50, the high from May 28.

Market participants were eyeing U.S. nonfarm payrolls data to be released later in the day for further indications on the strength of the job market after recent employment reports fuelled investors'' concerns.

On Thursday, the Department of Labor said the number of individuals filing for initial jobless benefits in the week ending May 31 increased by 8,000 to 312,000 from the previous week’s revised total of 304,000. Analysts had expected jobless claims to rise by 6,000 to 310,000 last week.

The report came a day after payroll processing firm ADP said non-farm private employment rose by 179,000 in May, below expectations for an increase of 210,000. April''s figure was revised down to a gain of 215,000 from a previously reported increase of 220,000.

Gold prices rallied over 1% on Thursday after European Central Bank President Mario Draghi said the bank is prepared to act swiftly with further monetary easing measures, including asset-backed security purchases, in case of a prolonged period of low inflation.

Speaking at the ECB’s post-policy meeting press conference, Draghi also said that the central bank we will be conducting a series of Targeted Longer Term Refinancing Operations (TLTROs), to support bank lending.

Elsewhere on the Comex, silver for July delivery slid 0.37% to trade at $19.013 a troy ounce, while copper for July delivery tumbled 1.34% to trade at $3.049 a pound.

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