Gold prices held weaker in Asia on Friday though investors monitored events following a suspected terrorist shooting in Paris that comes days before a presidential election expected to produce a run-off with none of the candidates from the far-right, far-left or center expected to cross the 50% threshold needed to win outright.
Gold for June delivery on the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange fell 0.14% to $1,282.00 a troy ounce. Silver futures eased 0.10% to $18.000 a troy ounce and copper futures dipped 0.12% to $2.542 a pound.
Overnight, gold prices traded slightly above breakeven on Thursday, as demand for the precious metal resumed ahead of the French presidential election, while bearish economic data underpinned upside momentum.
Gold recovered from its biggest one-day drop in more than six weeks sustained in the previous session, after weaker-than-expected manufacturing and jobs data dented the narrative of a strengthening U.S. economy.
The Labor Department said Thursday, initial claims for state unemployment benefits increased 10,000 to a seasonally adjusted 244,000 for the week ended April 15, which was higher than analysts' forecast of 242,000.
In a separate report, the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia said that the Philly Fed manufacturing index rose to a seasonally adjusted 22.0, from 32.8 in the preceding month.
Trading volumes were thin, as investors awaited the outcome of the first round of the French presidential election.
According to Oddschecker, betting market probabilities of the far-right candidate Marine Le Pen or far-left candidate Melenchon making it into the second round are not insignificant at 24% and 11%, respectfully.
Official voting polls for the second round forecast that far-right candidate, Marine Le pen, would lose no matter who she is competing against, while Melenchon would only lose against centrist candidate Macron, who remained the clear favorite to emerge victorious.