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Gold ends higher after US payrolls data

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Gold settled higher on Friday, snapping two days of losses, as revisions to U.S. payrolls data supported speculation that the Federal Reserve may hold off raising interest rates in the immediate future.

U.S. job growth rebounded last month and the unemployment rate dropped to a near seven-year low of 5.4 percent, potentially keeping the Federal Reserve on track to hike interest rates this year.

However, March payrolls were revised to show only 85,000 jobs created, the smallest number since June 2012.

Mixed economic data has pushed earlier expectations for the Federal Reserve to announce a rate rise at its June policy meeting back to later this year.

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U.S. gold futures for June delivery settled $6.70 lower at $1,188.90 an ounce. Meanwhile, spot gold was up 0.3 percent at $1,188 an ounce. As gold pays no interest, a potential rise in returns from U.S. bonds can weigh on its price.

"The U.S. payrolls number were very close to consensus, but there were downward revisions, so the back data was a little worse than people were expecting," ING commodities analyst Hamza Khan said. "This was a fairly supportive report for gold prices, in the end."

The dollar pared earlier gains against a basket of currencies after the data, though U.S. stocks opened higher on the evidence of an uptick in the economy.

Gold prices have been stuck in a narrow range of around $50 an ounce since mid-March, as uncertainty over U.S. monetary policy pushed buyers to the sidelines. A failure to sustain a push above $1,200 an ounce last week is also weighing, traders said.

"The more we do not break upside resistance, the more the chance of a bid sell-off," Afshin Nabavi, head of trading at MKS in Switzerland, said. "I think $1,100 should be tested sooner rather than later."

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Reflecting investor anxiety, holdings in the world's largest gold-backed exchange-traded fund, SPDR Gold Shares, fell 2.7 tonnes to 739.07 tonnes on Thursday.