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Gold Drops Again as Employment Outlook Improves

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Gold prices fell Thursday as a report showed individuals are applying for jobless benefits at a slower clip than expected.

Gold for April delivery at the COMEX division of the New York Mercantile Exchange closed down $8.70 at $1,294.70 an ounce. The gold price traded as high as $1,307.60 and as low as $1,291.20 an ounce, while the spot price was sliding 1.1%.

Jobless claims for the week ending March 22 fell 10,000 to 311,000, which beat economists' expectations of 325,000 claims. Better labor data suggests a strengthening economy, taking away gold's appeal as a store of value amid an economic decline.

Weighing on the yellow metal for the past week has been the Federal Reserve's announcement that it likely will end economic stimulus later in the year, and that the central bank will hike interest rates in 2015.

Must Read: Thursday, March 27: Today in Gold and Silver

"The traders are capitalizing on the obvious clues from the central bank on how to invest in gold in the short term," Jeffrey Sica, chief investment officer at Sica Wealth Management, said in a phone interview. "As a result, the gold market has zeroed in on the typical momentum play."

Silver prices for May delivery dropped 7 cents to $19.76 an ounce, while the U.S. dollar index was adding 0.13% to $80.10.

Gold miners were mostly lower on Thursday. Shares of Kinross Gold (KGC) slumped 4.5%.

Gold ETF SPDR Gold Trust (GLD) was off 0.65%, while iShares Gold Trust (IAU) dropped 0.56%.

-- Written by Joe Deaux in New York.

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