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Gold tamed by US jobs data, offsetting ECB cheer

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Gold prices fell on Friday as the dollar index swung back into positive territory, after a closely watched U.S. employment report came in almost exactly in line with expectations, showing a solid pace of hiring in May.

Gold posted in its biggest one-day rise since mid-May on Thursday after the European Central Bank unveiled measures to boost the euro zone economy. Traders had held off taking new positions ahead of the data after a near 1 percent gold price rally in the previous session following new stimulus measures from the European Central Bank.

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Spot gold was flat $1,252 an ounce, off from Thursday's close at $1,253.29. U.S. gold futures for August delivery fell by 80 cents an ounce to settle at $1,252.50.

While appetite for the metal initially picked up after the report, gains were capped by expectations that the Federal Reserve will continue to unwind its stimulus measures and that other assets will offer better returns, as well as the dollar's recovery.

The ECB outlined a four-year 400 billion euro ($545 billion) scheme giving banks that have been holding back credit an incentive to boost lending to businesses, and pledged to do more if needed. Gold tends to benefit from ultra-loose monetary policy, which cuts the opportunity cost of holding non-yielding assets such as bullion. The scope of the move prompted some traders who had positioned for further losses to square their positions.

Nonfarm payrolls increased 217,000 last month, the Labor Department said on Friday, against expectations for a 218,000 rise, while data for March and April was revised to show 6,000 fewer jobs created than previously reported.

The dollar initially fell after the report as U.S. Treasury yields dipped, but later rebounded.

--By Reuters

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