CHICAGO, Jan. 16 (Xinhua) -- Gold futures on the COMEX division of the New York Mercantile Exchange ended higher Thursday as a decline in U.S. equities and weakness in the U.S. dollar helped the prices of the precious metal futures gain for the first time in three sessions.
The most active gold contract for February delivery rose 1.9 dollars, or 0.15 percent, to settle at 1,240.2 dollars per ounce. Gold futures recorded a loss of nearly 13 dollars an ounce in the past two trading sessions.
The last couple of days saw the equity markets and the U.S. dollar bounce, which resulted in modest selling in the precious metal, according to market analysts. On Thursday, the S&P 500 index retreated from the record levels it saw a day earlier and the U.S. dollar gave up gains against other major currencies, which provided support to gold trading in the day.
Looking further ahead, some analysts believe that one annual catalyst for gold market is the Chinese New Year on Jan. 31, which will see an increase of physical gold buying.
Silver for March delivery lost 8.0 cents, or 0.40 percent, to close at 20.054 dollars per ounce.