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



) --

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 "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.


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) - Get Free Report

were losing 3.5%, while shares of

Barrick Gold


were rising 1.2%.

Gold ETF

SPDR Gold Trust

(GLD) - Get Free Report

was increasing 0.13% to $150.94 a share, while

iShares Gold Trust

(IAU) - Get Free Report

was up 0.17% to $15.17 a share.

-- Written by Joe Deaux in New York.

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