- Gold prices gained slightly in Asia on Friday, supported by events in the Ukraine.

On the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange, gold futures for June delivery traded at $1,293.80 a troy ounce, up 0.25%, after hitting an overnight session low of $1,268.60 and off a high of $1,298.30.

Ukraine military forces killed five separatists earlier, while Russian President Vladimir Putin warned Kiev against stepping up its offensive against the rebels.

Geopolitical tensions eclipsed overall positive U.S. data by stoking fears the Washington will get dragged into the conflict, which sent investors chasing safe-haven yen positions, making gold an attractive hedge to the weaker dollar.

The Commerce Department reported earlier that U.S. orders for durable goods rose 2.6% in March, beating expectations for a 2% gain.

Core durable goods orders, which exclude volatile transportation items, rose 2% last month, far outpacing forecasts for a 0.6% gain.

Separately, the Labor Department said the number of individuals who filed for unemployment assistance in the U.S. in the week ending April 19 rose by 24,000 to 329,000. Analysts had expected an increase of 5,000.

Despite the increase, underlying trends still point to recovery in the labor market, giving investors room to focus on other market steering currents.

Silver for May delivery was down 0.17% at US$19.655 a troy ounce, while copper futures for May delivery rose 0.26% at US$3.123 a pound.

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