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Gold and silver rise ahead of jobs report

The Associated Press

Gold and silver finished higher Thursday, as investors awaited the government's monthly unemployment report on Friday.

Gold for August delivery rose $17.30 to settle at $1,415.80 an ounce. July silver gained 23.5 cents to $22.71 an ounce.

Investors found encouraging signs in the weekly jobs report that came out Thursday. The number of Americans seeking unemployment benefits fell by 11,000 last week to a seasonally adjusted 346,000, a level consistent with steady job growth. The monthly report is expected to show the unemployment rate remained at a four-year low of 7.5 percent.

July Platinum ended the day up $18.70 at $1,529.30 an ounce. September Palladium rose $5.85 to $762.30. July copper was down 5.25 cents to $3.3190 a pound.

Grains were mixed, with wheat and soybeans lower. Corn was higher. July wheat lost 3.75 cents to $6.9775 a bushel and soybeans gave up 4.75 cents a bushel to $5.4825. Corn added 6 cents to $5.4825 per bushel.

Benchmark crude oil futures ended at $94.76 per barrel, up $1.02. Natural gas lost 17 cents to settle at $3.83 per thousand cubic feet. The Energy Department said the nation's natural gas supplies rose more than analysts expected last week.

Gasoline contracts rose 3 cents to $2.85 a gallon, and heating oil added 2 cents to $2.87 a gallon.