Investing.com - Gold prices were little changed in rangebound trade on Thursday, as investors remained cautious ahead of upcoming U.S. economic data and a policy meeting by the European Central Bank.
On the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange, gold futures for April delivery held in a tight range between USD1,255.00 a troy ounce and USD1,259.30 an ounce.
The April contract last traded at USD1,258.00 an ounce during European morning hours, up 0.1%.
Gold futures rallied to USD1,274.50 a troy ounce on Wednesday, the highest since January 27, before trimming gains to settle at USD1,256.90 an ounce, up 0.46%.
Prices were likely to find support at USD1,240.40 a troy ounce, the low from February 3 and resistance at USD1,276.70, the high from January 27.
Meanwhile, silver for March delivery traded at USD19.98 a troy ounce, up 0.9%. The March contract hit USD20.33 an ounce on Wednesday, the most since January 24, before paring gains to end at USD19.80 an ounce, up 1.97%.
Gold’s gains on Wednesday came after data painted a mixed picture of the U.S. economy.
The U.S. Institute of Supply Management said its non-manufacturing purchasing manager''s index rose to 54.0 last month from a reading of 53.0 in December. Analysts had expected the index to ease up to 53.7 in January.
The data came after payroll processing firm ADP said non-farm private employment rose by a seasonally adjusted 175,000 last month, below expectations for an increase of 180,000.
While not viewed as a reliable guide for the government jobs report due on Friday, February 7, it does give guidance on private-sector hiring.
Market players now looked ahead to key U.S. economic data later in the day for further indications on the strength of the economy and the future course of monetary policy.
The U.S. is to publish the weekly report on initial jobless claims as well as data on the trade balance.
The Federal Reserve said it will keep a close eye on economic indicators before deciding to wind down its stimulus program even further.
The central bank tapered its monthly asset purchase program by another USD10 billion to USD65 billion a month at its last policy meeting.
Investors will also be awaiting the outcome of the ECB’s policy meeting later Thursday. While no policy change was expected from the central bank, focus will be on forward guidance and hints about future easing.
Elsewhere on the Comex, copper futures for March delivery inched up 0.45% to trade at USD3.203 a pound.
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