Gold futures settled slightly lower on Friday, but pared a much sharper decline as financial markets awaited an update on reported progress in trade negotiations between the U.S. and China and as an upbeat reading on jobless benefits claims fueled expectations for a recovery in monthly hiring in a report due Friday morning. June gold GCM9, +0.02% closed $1, or less than 0.1%, lower at $1,294.30 an ounce. The metal had hitan intrday low at $1,284.90 an ounce as the dollar gained some altitude. One measure of greenback, the ICE U.S. Dollar Index DXY, +0.21% was up 0.2% at 97.31. For the week, gold is headed for a decline of about 0.3%, based on the most-active contract. Meanwhile, stock markets were mixed with the Dow Jones Industrial Average DJIA, +0.44% rising 0.4%, while both the S&P 500 index SPX, +0.00% and the Nasdaq Composite Index COMP, -0.32% off 0.3%. Investors will keenly watch a reading of employment on Friday from the Labor Department to help gauge the health of the U.S. economy as global economies show cracks. Ahead of that report, a reading of weekly jobless benefits claims fell to their lowest level since 1969.
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