Gold scored a modest gain on Thursday, held in check by both a firmer tone to stock markets and caution ahead of a U.S. jobs report on Friday.
Stocks rallied on Wall Street as a better-than-expected report on weekly U.S. jobless claims boosted confidence the economy was improving, curbing some interest in gold as an alternative asset.
It took support however from a rise in the euro versus the dollar after European Central Bank President Mario Draghi said the euro zone economy was proving resilient vis-à-vis emerging markets. Earlier the ECB held its main interest rates at 0.25 percent.
Spot gold was last down 0.8 percent to $1,257 an ounce, pulling back from a near two-week high of $1,273.26 on Wednesday. U.S. gold futures for April delivery settled 30 cents higher at $1,257.20 an ounce.
A mixed bag of U.S. data has left investors on edge this week, adding to pressure stemming from the emerging markets turmoil. Data released on Thursday showed the number of Americans filing new claims for unemployment benefits fell more than expected last week, in a boost to the labor market outlook and the broader economy.
Investors are now eyeing the Friday release of U.S. nonfarm payrolls data, a key gauge of the labor market, as any setback in economic growth could prompt the Federal Reserve to slow the pace of its stimulus tapering.
For more information on precious metals, please click here.