CHICAGO, Dec. 5 (Xinhua) -- Gold futures on the COMEX division of the New York Mercantile Exchange settled lower on Thursday, as stronger-than-expected U.S. economic recovery and fall in jobless claims dulled the metal's investment appeal.
The most active gold contract for February delivery fell 15.3 dollars, or 1.23 percent, to settle at 1,231.5 U.S. dollars per ounce. Gold prices bounced back on Wednesday to recoup much of what they had lost in the first two sessions of the week.
According to market analysts, gold futures declined for the third time in four days as U.S. economic data reinforced concern that the Federal Reserve might begin trimming its stimulus measures, curbing market demand for the precious metal as a safe- haven.
The U.S. economy expanded at 3.6 percent rate in the third quarter, up from an initial estimate of 2.8 percent, while jobless claims unexpectedly declined to the lowest level in more than two months as of Nov. 30, separate U.S. government reports showed Thursday.
Gold tumbled 26 percent this year through Wednesday, heading for the first annual drop in 13 years. Some investors lost faith in the precious metal as a store of value amid a rally in equities and as inflation remained low, according to Bloomberg.
Silver for March delivery fell 26 cents, or 1.31 percent, to close at 19.570 dollars per ounce.