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Gold Climbs Slightly as Investors Await Friday's Jobs Report

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Gold prices on Tuesday were slightly higher, without much momentum, as investors sat on the sidelines awaiting the monthly employment report due Friday.

Gold for June delivery at the COMEX division of the New York Mercantile Exchange was adding $1.10 to $1,284.90 an ounce. The gold price traded as high as $1,288.40 and as low as $1,277.40 an ounce, while the spot price was increasing $1.20, or 0.09%.

"It's quiet, I think the market is marking time a little bit to Fridays unemployment report, maybe to the [European Central Bank] meeting," said James Steel, HSBC chief commodities analyst, in a phone interview from New York.

The U.S. Labor Department on Friday releases the March nonfarm payrolls report. Economists polled by Bloomberg expect 200,000 jobs will have been added to the U.S. work force.

As it pertains to the gold market, traders typically sell the yellow metal on strong labor numbers as those suggest the economy is improving, eliminating gold's appeal as a safe haven asset against crises or declining value in the U.S. dollar.

Additionally, since the Federal Reserve after the 2008 financial crisis launched multiple rounds of economic stimulus, strong jobs data suggests the Fed will end looser monetary policy sooner rather than later. Gold, many investors said, rises as the central bank delivers stimulus because the action can cause inflation in the longer term. Inflation, though, is running under the Fed's 2% target despite the central bank's highly accommodative position for the past five years.

The European Central Bank on Thursday releases its latest monetary policy statement. The same fundamentals apply to gold -- the price of which is heavily affected across global markets, not just the United States -- which could get a boost if the ECB offers more loose monetary guidance. The ECB recently has offered support to the gold market as it lowered interest rates near zero amid worries of rising deflation in the eurozone economy.

Purchases of physical gold fell in March from February, according to a report by BullionVault, an online service to buy and sell physical gold. The company has locations across the globe. The slowing in buying shouldn't be much of a surprise among gold investors as the yellow metal dropped by 4% in value during last month, largely due to traders discounting more escalation of crisis in Crimea.

"What we saw is a lot of the fast money go out of the market, but [our customers] still continue to build; even though there were a little more sellers than usual, [they] were still buying," BullionVault vice president Miguel Perez-Santalla said in an interview.

Silver prices for May delivery were climbing 2 cents to $19.78, while the U.S. dollar index was losing 0.11% to $80.02.

Gold miners were higher on Tuesday. Shares of Kinross Gold (KGC) were up 2.3%, and shares of Newmont Mining (NEM) were higher by 1%.

Gold ETF SPDR Gold Trust (GLD) was increasing 0.19%.

-- Written by Joe Deaux in New York.

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