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Gold Prices Slightly Higher as Traders Take Breather (Update 1)

Updated from 10:08 a.m. ET with settlement prices.

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Gold prices were slightly higher on Thursday as traders took a pause after Wednesday's sharp selloff. Gold prices fell 1.76% on Wednesday.

Gold for June delivery at the COMEX division of the CME added $6.10 to settle at $1,564.90 an ounce. The gold price traded as high as $1,568.10 and as low as $1,553 an ounce, while the spot price was climbing $1.40, according to Kitco's gold index.

"Yesterday's price action confirmed that the bears are in near-term technical command," said Jim Wyckoff, senior metals strategist at Kitco.com. "When you see a big price move in a market, many times the following day you'll see a pause just as traders catch their breath."

Silver prices for May delivery lost 4 cents to $27.70 an ounce, while the U.S. dollar index was dropping 0.32% to $82.24.

Gold was trading flat Thursday as weekly jobless claims suggested a sideways move. Although weekly claims for the week ended April 6 fell by 42,000 to 346,000, the four-week moving average ticked higher by 3,000 from the previous week to 358,000. Gold prices often move inversely to positive and negative economic data in the labor market as the Federal Reserve has committed to keeping the short-term federal funds rate exceptionally low at least until the U.S. unemployment rate dips to 6.5%.

The yellow metal on Wednesday dropped in value on the COMEX -- after the Fed released its March policy-making minutes five hours early -- as details showed that a growing number of Fed members were embracing the idea of scaling back quantitative easing programs sometime in 2013.

Though four big banks in the past week have reduced their price forecasts for gold, and downward momentum the past few months has weighed on the yellow metal, some observers think the Fed members already may have altered their opinion on scaling back asset purchases so soon.

"The March FOMC meeting came before the March employment report; a lot of the presumption or the notion of starting to scale back either by mid-year or before year-end was based on continued numbers like we had been seeing -- and remember we had very strong [U.S. economic] data in January and February," Julia Coronado, chief economist for North America at BNP Paribas, said in an interview.

Gold mining stocks were mixed on Thursday. Shares of AngloGold Ashanti (AU) were losing 3.5%, while shares of Barrick Gold (ABX - Get Report) were rising 1.2%.

Gold ETF SPDR Gold Trust (GLD) was increasing 0.13% to $150.94 a share, while iShares Gold Trust (IAU) was up 0.17% to $15.17 a share.

-- Written by Joe Deaux in New York.

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