- Gold futures held steady on Friday, hovering close to 3-1/2 month highs as concerns over Portugal''s banking sector and the Federal Reserve''s latest meeting minutes continued to support.

On the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange, gold for August delivery traded at $1,338.20 a troy ounce during European afternoon trade, down 0.07%.

The August contract settled 1.13% higher on Thursday to end at $1,339.2 a troy ounce.

Gold futures were likely to find support at $1,325.00 an ounce, Thursday''s low and resistance at $1,346.80.

Portugal’s stock exchange, the PSI 20 fell sharply on Thursday, amid fears over the health of the country’s largest bank, Banco Espirito Santo. Shares in the bank were suspended on Thursday after tumbling 17%.

Meanwhile, gold prices remained supported by expectations the Fed will keep rates on hold for an extended period of time after the central bank’s bond-buying program ends.

Minutes of the Fed’s June policy meeting released Wednesday showed that officials agreed to end the central bank’s asset purchase program in October.

However, the minutes revealed little new information on when the bank could start to hike rates. The central bank acknowledged that the economy is continuing to improve but officials remain divided over the outlook for inflation.

Elsewhere on the Comex, silver for September delivery slipped 0.10% to trade at $21.485 a troy ounce, while copper for September delivery fell 0.24% to trade at $3.259 a pound.

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