Gold inches higher as investors look ahead to U.S. data

Gold prices inched modestly higher in subdued trade on Thursday, as Wednesday’s disappointing U.S. home sales data continued to provide support.

On the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange, gold for June delivery held in a tight range between $1,283.20 a troy ounce and $1,287.30 an ounce.

Gold last traded at $1,286.10 an ounce during European morning hours, up 0.12%, or $1.50. Futures advanced 0.27%, or $3.50 an ounce, on Wednesday to settle at $1,284.60.

Gold futures were likely to find support at $1,275.80 a troy ounce, the low from April 22 and resistance at $1,302.05, the high from April 21.

Gold moved higher on Wednesday after the Commerce Department reported that sales of new homes in the U.S. fell to the lowest level since July 2013 in March.

Sales on new homes dropped 14.5% to a seasonally adjusted rate of 384,000, lower than analysts' forecasts for a sales rate of 450,000.

Market players now looked ahead to key U.S. economic data later in the day for further indications on the strength of the economy and the future course of monetary policy.

The U.S. is to publish the weekly report on initial jobless claims as well as a report on durable goods orders.

Comex gold prices have been under heavy selling pressure in recent weeks as upbeat U.S. economic data underlined expectations that the Federal Reserve will begin to raise rates sooner than previously thought.

Meanwhile, silver for May delivery eased down 0.1%, or 0.2 cents, to trade at $19.41 a troy ounce. Silver ended Wednesday’s session up 0.4%, or 7.7 cents, to settle at $19.43 an ounce.

Elsewhere in metals trading, copper for May delivery tacked on 0.74%, or 2.2 cents, to trade at $3.082 a pound.