Gold and Silver Show Strength, Despite Jobless Claims

On Thursday, gold (NYSEARCA:GLD) futures for April delivery, the most active contract,  edged 20 cents higher to settle at $1,575.10 per ounce, while silver (NYSEARCA:SLV) futures for May closed flat at $28.81.

Both precious metals held steady, despite the number of Americans filing new applications for unemployment benefits reaching six-week lows. According to the Labor Department, initial claims for state unemployment benefits fell 7,000 to a seasonally adjusted 340,000 in the week ended March 2.

The Federal Reserve has made a pledge to keep interest rates at record lows until the job market improves, but the process is slow moving. Meanwhile, the European Central Bank and the Bank of England decided to keep their interest rates at current levels. President Mario Draghi said the ECB will keep central bank policy “accommodative” for as long as needed in his monthly news conference.

In afternoon trading, the SPDR Gold Trust (NYSEARCA:GLD) dipped 0.50 percent, while the iShares Silver Trust (NYSEARCA:SLV) fell nearly 1.0 percent. Gold miners (NYSEARCA:GDX) such as Yamana Gold (NYSE:AUY) and Goldcorp (NYSE:GG) dropped 0.95 percent and 1.75 percent, respectively. Silver names such as First Majestic Silver (NYSE:AG) and Endeavour Silver (NYSE:EXK) gained 0.25 percent and 1.25 percent, respectively.

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Disclosure: Long EXK, AG, HL, PHYS