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Gold Gets a Little Love, Settles Above $1,600 (Update 1)

Updated from 12:43 p.m. ET with settlement prices

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Gold prices ticked slightly higher on Monday in a tight trading range as investors showed little enthusiasm to push the yellow metal decidedly in one direction.

Gold for April delivery at the COMEX division of the CME climbed $5.20 to settle at $1,600.90 an ounce. The gold price traded as high as $1,601.60 and as low as $1,595.20 an ounce, while the spot price was adding $2.20, according to Kitco's gold index.

"Gold continues to be in a relatively tight trading range; there hasn't been any real catalyst to propel it upward," said Oliver Pursche, co-portfolio manager at GMG Defensive Beta Fund.

Gold prices first peaked above $1,600 an ounce on Monday shortly after the Institute for Supply Management said its manufacturing survey for March printed softer than expected, but the precious metal dipped back below the psychological threshold following the economic data that emerged at 10 a.m. ET.

Investors are looking ahead to March employment numbers this week, starting with the ADP's private payroll employment report on Wednesday and the Bureau of Labor Statistic's nonfarm payrolls on Friday.

"I think if we see any kind of tick up -- if we go 7.8% [unemployment rate] or even jump up two handles to 7.9%; if you see that jobs number come out in the 150 [thousand added to nonfarm payrolls] something real low like a big miss . . . gold prices will probably break out to the upside," Phil Streible, senior commodities broker at RJO Futures, said in an interview.

Silver prices for May delivery slid 38 cents to $27.94 an ounce, while the U.S. dollar index was dropping 0.34% to $82.72.

Gold ETF SPDR Gold Trust (GLD) was adding 0.23%, while iShares Gold Trust (IAU) was increasing 0.19%.

Miner Barrick Gold (ABX) was losing 1.4% to $28.98 a share.

-- Written by Joe Deaux in New York.

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