The four-week moving average of new jobless claims dipped to its lowest level since the recovery to 346,750, which was down 2,750 from last week. This downward trend, coupled with last Friday's upside surprise on the February monthly employment situation, may suggest to investors that the Fed could scale back its Large-Scale Asset Purchase programs, because some analysts and economists believe the central bank may rethink its open-ended accommodative policy to match a seemingly improving labor market.
But not everyone is quick to forecast this is the case.
"If you look at unemployment claims, they are improving, but what we're not seeing is an improvement in full-time employment relative to the population," said Lance Roberts, chief economist at StreetTalk Advisors. "We're seeing just enough employment created to keep up with the rate of population growth, but we're not creating enough employment to stay ahead of the population growth."
for May delivery fell 15 cents to $28.81 an ounce.
Overseas, Royal Bank of Australia Assistant Governor Christopher Kent gave a speech overnight in which he said the central bank's policy of low interest rates has supported a pickup in housing construction and leading indicators have pointed to further growth in the month ahead.
"But it is hard to know exactly how strong the recovery in the housing market might be, so we'll continue to analyze these developments closely over the period ahead," Kent said in a transcript released to the press.
Gold mining stocks were mostly higher on Thursday. Shares of
(KGC - Get Report)
were rising 2.1%, and shares of
were up 2.7%.
Among volume leaders,
was off by 0.21%.
SPDR Gold Trust
was adding 0.13%, while
iShares Gold Trust
was gaining 0.08% on high trading volume that totaled 15.6 million shares.
-- Written by Joe Deaux in New York.