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Gold ends under $1,300 for second straight session

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Gold settled under $1,300 an ounce on Tuesday as strong U.S. data offset safe-haven bids from escalating tensions between Russia and the West.

Investors are now eyeing this week's U.S. jobs report and a Federal Reserve policy meeting to gauge further the strength of the world's largest economy and the central bank's stance on tightening monetary policy.

Read MorePlaying gold? Keep an eye on silver

U.S. gold futures for June delivery settled $2.70 lower at $1,296.30 an ounce.

Spot gold, meanwhile, was last flat at $1,296 an ounce. Prices reached a 1-1/2 week high of $1,306.11 on Monday before ending down 0.6 percent on signs of a strengthening U.S. housing market.

Symbol
Name
Price
 
Change
%Change
Volume
GOLD
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GOLD/USD
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SILV/USD
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SILVER
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PALL/USD
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PLAT/USD
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A strong economy could mean safe-haven demand for gold would slow, and the Fed could quicken its path towards a tighter monetary policy. The U.S. central bank has already been slowing the pace of its bond purchases.

In the latest sign that the economy is recovering well, data on Monday showed contracts to buy previously owned U.S. homes rose in March for the first time in nine months.

Meanwhile, tensions between the West and Russia over Ukraine remained high after the United States imposed new sanctions on allies of Russian President Vladimir Putin, prompting Moscow to denounce "Cold War" tactics amid more violence in eastern Ukraine.

The Ukraine situation has taken a backseat this week for gold as the focus is on the Fed meeting and other data releases, said one precious metals trader.

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