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Gold futures remain slightly higher after economic data, Yellen on tap

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Shutterstock photo - - Gold futures held on to modest gains on Tuesday, as investors digested a mixed bag of U.S. data ahead of highly anticipated comments by Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen later in the day.

On the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange, gold for August delivery tacked on 0.21%, or $2.70, to trade at $1,309.40 a troy ounce during U.S. morning hours. Prices held in a range between $1,306.70 and $1,314.50.

Gold tumbled to $1,302.20 an ounce on Monday, the lowest since June 19, before settling at $1,306.70, down 2.3%, or $30.70, as profit-taking and stronger global equities dented the precious metal's safe-haven appeal.

Gold futures were likely to find support at $1,302.20, the low from July 14 and resistance at $1,340.90, the high from July 14.

Also on the Comex, silver for September delivery inched up 0.45%, or 9.4 cents, to trade at $21.00 a troy ounce.

The U.S. Commerce Department said earlier that retail sales inched up by a seasonally adjusted 0.2% in June, missing expectations for a 0.6% increase.

Core retail sales, which exclude automobile sales, eased up by a seasonally adjusted 0.4% in June, disappointing forecasts for a 0.5% increase.

At the same time, the Federal Reserve Bank of New York said that its general business conditions index increased to a more than four-year high of 25.6 in July from a reading of 19.3 in June. Analysts had expected the index to decline to 17.0 this month.

Market players were eyeing Fed Chair Yellen's testimony in a U.S. Senate committee at 10:00 a.m. Eastern for signs of when the central bank would begin increasing interest rates.

In the minutes of the Fed's June policy meeting released last week, the Fed predicted an October close to its bond-buying stimulus program but did not hint at a timetable as to when interest rates may begin to rise afterwards.

Elsewhere in metals trading, copper for September delivery dipped 0.09%, or 0.3 cents, to trade at $3.246 a pound.

Copper traders looked ahead to a raft of Chinese economic data later this week, including reports on second quarter gross domestic product, industrial production and retail sales.

The Asian nation is the world's largest copper consumer, accounting for almost 40% of world consumption. offers an extensive set of professional tools for the financial markets.

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The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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