- Gold prices rose to a three-week high on Monday, as worries about escalating violence in Ukraine bolstered investor demand for the haven asset.

On the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange, gold for June delivery rose to a daily high of $1,309.40 a troy ounce, the most since April 15.

Gold last traded at $1,308.20 an ounce during European morning hours, up 0.42%, or $5.50. Futures rallied 1.52%, or $19.50 an ounce on Friday to settle at $1,302.90.

Gold prices were likely to find support at $1,272.00 an ounce, the low from May 2 and resistance at $1,326.90, the high from April 15.

Investors continued to monitor events in Ukraine, as hostilities between Kiev and Russia remain high.

Clashes between Ukraine''s army and pro-Russian forces broke out in six cities in eastern Ukraine over the weekend, stoking fears that the crisis will develop and drag the U.S. deeper into the standoff.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry threatened Russia with further sanctions on Sunday, unless the country stopped backing separatists in eastern Ukraine.

The West is accusing Russia of leading a separatist revolt in eastern Ukraine after it annexed Crimea last month.

Gold, seen as a safe haven investment, usually benefits from geopolitical turmoil.

Meanwhile, market players continued to assess a report showing that the U.S. economy added jobs at the fastest pace in more than two years in April, but also showed weaker earnings growth and a drop in labor force participation.

The Labor Department reported Friday that the U.S. economy added 288,000 jobs in April, well above expectations for jobs growth of 210,000. The U.S. unemployment rate dropped to a five-and-a-half year low of 6.3%, compared to expectations for 6.6%.

But optimism was tempered after the report also showed that the labor force participation rate, which measures the proportion of people either working or looking for work, fell to 62.8% from 63.2% in March. Meanwhile, average wage growth edged lower in April from the same month a year earlier, dampening the medium term inflation outlook.

Also on the Comex, silver for July delivery inched up 0.13%, or 2.6 cents, to trade at $19.57 a troy ounce. Silver ended Friday’s session up 2.64%, or 50.3 cents, to settle at $19.54 an ounce.

Elsewhere in metals trading, copper for July delivery shed 0.32%, or 1.0 cent, to trade at $3.060 a pound.

Data released earlier showed that China’s final HSBC Purchasing Managers Index ticked down to 48.1 in April from a final reading of 48.3 in March and below expectations for a reading of 48.4.

The report indicated that China’s manufacturing sector contracted for the fourth consecutive month in April, underlining concerns that an economic slowdown in the world’s second-largest economy is deepening

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

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