Gold Posts Biggest Gain in 2013 (Update 2)

Updated from 11:11 a.m. EDT with settlement prices.

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Gold prices posted on Monday the biggest gain of 2013 as speculation of an impending rate cut by the European Central Bank added upward momentum to the yellow metal. Gold jumped 1.1% on Wednesday.

Gold for June delivery at the COMEX division of the CME surged 38.30 to $1,462 an ounce. The gold price traded as high as $1,463.40 and as low as $1,426.30 an ounce. Gold has retraced about half of its losses since the two-day collapse on April 12 and April 15.

"Rate cut speculation ahead of next week's ECB meeting and the prospect of continued ultra loose US monetary policy following more weak economic figures in the eurozone and the US are lending buoyancy to the gold price," Commerzbank AG wrote in a research note.

Silver prices for May delivery closed up $1.31 at $24.14 an ounce, while the U.S. dollar index was sliding 0.25% to $82.73.

The Labor Department said Thursday weekly jobless claims fell 16,000 to 339,000 for the week ended April 20. Economists polled by Thomson Reuters were expecting claims to come in at 351,000. The four-week moving average dipped to 357,500 from 362,000 a week ago.

Gold investors continue to monitor the health of the labor market as the Federal Reserve has tied its policy to maintain a historically low federal funds rate to the unemployment rate. The Fed has reiterated that it would keep rates low at least until the unemployment rate ticks down to 6.5% or if inflation picks up too quickly.

Soft overall U.S. economic data -- the housing sector, the labor market, manufacturing -- also has helped drive gold since its historic two-day collapse on April 12 and 19.

Investors expect to receive their first glance at the health of the U.S. economy in 2013 as the Bureau of Economic Analysis on Friday will report first-quarter gross domestic product.

Gold mining stocks were mostly higher on Thursday. Shares of Gold Fields ( GFI) were up 6.3%, and shares of Royal Gold ( RGLD) were climbing 5.6%.

Among volume leaders, Barrick Gold ( ABX) was adding 3.1%.

Gold ETF SPDR Gold Trust ( GLD) was surging 2.6%, and iShares Gold Trust ( IAU) was jumping 2.5%.

-- Written by Joe Deaux in New York.

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