Gold breaks $1,350; Fed hopes lure traders back to bullion

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Gold settled more than 1 percent higher on Thursday, breaking above $1,350 an ounce for the first time in more than a month, on rekindled buying interest prompted by ideas the Federal Reserve will continue its monetary stimulus after Thursday's disappointing U.S. jobless claims data.

Bullion prices rallied after the number of Americans filing new claims for unemployment benefits fell less than expected last week.

Technical buying also lifted gold after it breached key resistance at its 50-day moving average. Also, analysts cited a two-month high in the open interest for U.S. gold futures, a liquidity gauge, for bullion's gains.

Chart: Precious Metals

"With open interest in gold growing, it indicates new business is not just because of short covering, and that gold buyers may keep a steady course,'' said George Gero, vice president of RBC Capital Markets.

Spot gold rose to $1,351.61, its highest since Sept. 20, and was last at $1,348 an ounce, up 1.2 percent on the day.

for December delivery settled 1.2 percent higher at $1,350.30 an ounce.

Gold was also underpinned by a weaker U.S. dollar and by U.S. Treasury bond yields hovering near a three-month low after the weekly jobless claims data.

"A lot of people positioned themselves for a lower figure just ahead of the jobs release and prices were pushed higher,'' said MKS SA Senior Vice President Bernard Sin said.

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