- Gold and silver prices fell to the lowest levels of the session on Thursday, following the release of upbeat U.S. data on retail sales and initial jobless claims.

On the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange, gold futures for April delivery rose to a session high of $1,375.40 a troy ounce, the most since September 9, before turning lower to last trade at $1,365.70 during U.S. morning hours, down 0.35%, or $4.70.

Gold rallied 1.77%, or $23.80 an ounce, on Wednesday to settle at $1,370.50.

Futures were likely to find support at $1,327.50 a troy ounce, the low from March 10 and resistance at $1,391.70, the high from September 9.

Meanwhile, silver for May delivery dropped 0.95%, or $0.20 cents, to trade at $21.16 a troy ounce. Silver ended Wednesday’s session up 2.61%, or $0.54 cents, to settle at $21.35 an ounce.

The U.S. Commerce Department said earlier that retail sales rose by 0.3% last month, beating expectations for a 0.2% increase.

Core retail sales, which exclude automobile sales, increased by 0.3% in February, compared to forecasts for a 0.2% increase.

Core sales correspond most closely with the consumer spending component of the government''s gross domestic product report. Consumer spending accounts for as much as 70% of U.S. economic growth.

A separate report showed that the number of people who filed for unemployment assistance in the U.S. last week fell unexpectedly to hit a 14-week low of 315,000 from the previous week’s revised total of 324,000.

Analysts had expected jobless claims to rise by 6,000 to 330,000 last week.

The better than expected data eased concerns over soft U.S. economic data seen in the past few months and underlined the view that the Federal Reserve is likely to continue to gradually taper its bond-buying program.

Gold hit a six-month high earlier in the session as investors continued to monitor events in Ukraine, where tension over moves by neighboring Russia in the Crimean region have heightened demand for safe haven assets.

U.S. President Barack Obama warned on Wednesday that unless Russian President Vladimir Putin pulls back from endorsing a referendum on Crimea joining Russia, the U.S. and its allies “will be forced to apply a cost to Russia’s violations of international law and its encroachments on Ukraine.”

President Obama’s comments came after Leaders of the Group of Seven biggest industrial nations warned Russia not to annex Crimea.

Elsewhere on the Comex, copper futures for May delivery slumped 0.45% to trade at $2.949 a pound following the release of lackluster data out of China.

Industrial production in China rose by an annualized rate of 8.6% in the first two months of 2014, the weakest since March 2009 and below expectations for a 9.5% increase.

A separate report showed that Chinese retail sales rose by a smaller-than-forecast 11.8% in the same period, the slowest pace for the first two months since 2004.

Copper has been under heavy selling pressure in recent sessions as growing concerns over the health of China’s economy dampened demand for growth-linked assets.

The industrial metal fell to $2.908 a pound on Wednesday, the weakest since July 2010.

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