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Gold flattens as stocks close lower

Gold bullion bars and coins.
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Gold bullion bars and coins.

Gold reversed earlier losses on Thursday as allthree major U.S. indexesclosed lower.

Spot gold was flat at $1,321.15 an ounce, having touched an overnight high of $1,325.80.

U.S. gold futures settled up 0.2 percent at $1,326, and were last up 0.06 percent at $1,324.50.

U.S. stocks traded sharply lower on Thursday after banking stocks fell sharply.

Gold was up a shade on Thursday after the dollar flip-flopped in the wake of mixed U.S. data and as skepticism grew over whether OPEC members would be able to implement production cuts that could fuel inflation.


The dollar index, which measures the greenback against a basket of currencies, whipsawed after data on U.S. second-quarter economic growth and weekly jobless claims was stronger than expected, but contracts to buy previously owned U.S. homes dropped in August to their lowest level since January.

When positive data is released, investors raise bets on a U.S. interest rate hike, which would increase the opportunity cost of holding non-yielding bullion.

Gold pared earlier gains in the aftermath of a decision by the OPEC on Wednesday to make modest output cuts in the first such deal since 2008.

The news gave oil an initial boost, only for the price to slip as investors questioned whether the deal would be enough to rebalance a heavily over supplied market.

"If OPEC ends up achieving its objective, it could significantly change the outlook for global inflation and the need to have a hedge (potentially through gold) against higher inflation," said Danske Bank senior analyst Jens Pedersen.

Division between Federal Reserve policymakers on when to raise U.S. interest rates has sapped investor enthusiasm for trading on comments by officials from the central bank.

"The gold and dollar markets are currently without very strong direction. The mixed views from U.S. Fed officials have weakened their credibility and the market has stopped buying (on) their comments," said Jiang Shu, chief analyst at Shandong Gold Group.

UBS Strategist Joni Teves said in a note that the expectation that low inflation should keep yields down and Fed policy easy, means gold prices will move higher.

"Our expectation of much lower long-end real yields supports our positive gold outlook, and an environment of 'low for longer' would be a conducive backdrop for gold's next leg higher," Teves said, forecasting an average gold price of $1,400 in 2017.

— CNBC's Fred Imbert contributed to this report.