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Gold off the highs as U.S. dollar fights back

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Shutterstock photo - - Gold came off the highest levels of the session on Thursday, as the U.S. dollar recovered from a selloff in the previous session after the Federal Reserve tempered expectations for higher U.S. interest rates.

On the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange, gold futures for April delivery hit a session high of $1,177.00 a troy ounce, the most since March 6, before trading at $1,161.60 during U.S. morning hours, up $10.80, or 0.94%.

A day earlier, gold tacked on $3.10, or 0.27%, to close at $1,151.30. Futures were likely to find support at $1,141.60, the low from March 17, and resistance at $1,200.00, the high from March 6.

The dollar index, which tracks the performance of the greenback against a basket of major currencies, rallied 2% to 99.31, after plunging to a three-week low of 94.77 on Wednesday.

The Federal Reserve dropped a reference to being "patient" on the timing of rate hikes on Wednesday, but added that the change in its forward guidance did not mean it has decided on the timing for an initial rate increase.

"Just because we removed the word "patient" does not mean we will become impatient," Fed Chair Janet Yellen said at a post-meeting press conference.

The Fed also downgraded its forecasts for growth and inflation and lowered its interest rate projections, prompting investors to push back expectations on the timing and pace of future rate increases.

A delay in raising interest rates would be seen as bullish for gold, as it decreases the relative cost of holding on to the metal, which doesn't offer investors any similar guaranteed payout.

Gold fell to a four-month low of $1,141.60 earlier in the week amid concerns that the Federal Reserve will start raising rates as early as in June.

Meanwhile, silver futures for May delivery surged 34.4 cents, or 2.21%, to trade at $15.88 a troy ounce. On Wednesday, silver dipped 3.7 cents, or 0.24%, to close at $15.54.

Elsewhere on the Comex, copper for May delivery advanced 6.9 cents, or 2.66%, to trade at $2.639 a pound.

Data released earlier showed that the number of people who filed for unemployment assistance in the U.S. held below the key 300,000-level.

The U.S. Department of Labor said the number of individuals filing for initial jobless benefits increased by 1,000 to 291,000 last week from the previous week's total of 290,000. Analysts had expected initial jobless claims to rise by 2,000 to 292,000 last week. 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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