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Gold Pauses as Quarter-End Approaches

Stocks in this article: NEM AU ABX GLD IAU

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Gold prices were inching higher on Thursday but failed to gain greater upward momentum as many traders were book-squaring for the end of the quarter on Friday.

COMEX Gold for August delivery at the New York Mercantile Exchange was tacking on $1 to $1,230.80 an ounce. The gold price traded as high as $1,244.20 and as low as $1,223.40 an ounce, while the spot price was up $3.49.

"What we're going to see now is just evening out, and 'get me out for the weekend' tomorrow," said George Gero, precious metals strategist at RBC Capital Markets.

Gold prices started to climb early Thursday morning as traders considered the possibility of buying new positions on speculation that Wednesday's large selloff provided a cheap level to re-enter the market, but the end of the quarter on Friday and first-notice day on Monday squashed the run.

Silver prices for September delivery was ticking higher by 19 cents to $18.80, while the U.S. dollar index was up 0.13% to $83.06.

Physical demand in Asia remained tepid as investors continued to parse the stability of China's economy and financial sector. Taxes imposed on imports in India -- where imported gold is in high demand -- has further deteriorated physical demand of the yellow metal. Following gold's historic two-day selloff in mid-April, it was physical demand from Asia that provided strong support for prices.

"With sentiment for gold at its weakest in a long time, it would make sense for physical buyers to be more patient this time around, as this would also mean that very high premiums are more likely to be avoided," UBS wrote in a note on Thursday.

Outflows of gold ETFs continued at a record pace. Data compiled by Bloomberg showed that outflows in the past two trading days have exceeded outflows compiled in the first half of June, according to Commerzbank AG.

Gold mining stocks were mostly higher on Thursday. Shares of Newmont Mining (NEM) were rising 3.6%, while shares of AngloGold Ashanti (AU) were increasing 2.6%.

RBC Capital Markets's Gero said gold mining companies have begun to take hedging positions in the futures market as the price of gold has dropped near the average cost of production.

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