Gold futures ended higher on Thursday, extending gains to a third straight day, as the dollar continued to stay weak amid rising optimism the U.S. lawmakers will agree on a coronavirus relief package soon.

The dollar index tumbled to 90.51 in late morning trades, and despite recovering some lost ground subsequently, was still languishing in negative territory at 90.71, down 0.45% from previous close.

Gold futures for February settled with a gain of $12.10 or about 0.7% at $1,842.30 an ounce, the highest settlement in about two weeks.

Silver futures for March ended up by $0.057 at $24.137 an ounce, while Copper futures for March settled at $3.4905 per pound, gaining $0.0020.

According to the data released by the Labor Department, initial jobless claims in the U.S. dropped to 712,000, a decrease of 75,000 from the previous week’s revised level of 787,000.

Economists had expected jobless claims to edge down to 775,000 from the 778,000 originally reported for the previous month.

A report released by the Institute for Supply Management said that its services PMI edged down to 55.9 in November after dipping to 56.6 in October. Economists had expected the index to slip to 56.0.

The modest decrease by the headline index came as the business activity index slid to 58.0 in November from 61.2 in October. The new orders index also fell to 57.2 from 58.8.

On the other hand, the ISM said the employment index rose to 51.5 in November from 50.1 in October, indicating the third consecutive month of job growth in the service sector.

On the stimulus front, traders continued to express optimism about a potential fiscal stimulus bill after Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ken., said a “compromise is within reach.”

Both Democrats and Republicans have offered new stimulus proposals, although it remains to be seen if lawmakers will finally reach an agreement after months of stagnation.

The material has been provided by InstaForex Company – www.instaforex.com

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