Bullion prices bottomed before settling higher in Wednesday early afternoon business, falling following positive US jobs data before dip buying emerged, although the complex remains under pressure after reports emerged that President Chavez of Venezuela was attempting to broker a peace deal in Libya.

- Spot gold struck an intraday low of $1,417.60 per ounce, retreating further from the record of $1,440.40 struck yesterday before bouncing. It was last at $1,425.65/1,426.45 per ounce, down $7.50. On the charts, having broken support at the seven-day moving average of $1,418, next levels stand at $1,417 and $1,408. Resistance is capped at $1,438, $1,440 and $1,442.

- US data showed 368,000 new unemployment claims last week, below an expected 394,000 and down from 388,000 in the previous week - this itself was reduced from 391,000. Revised non-farm productivity for the fourth quarter grew 2.6 percent, as forecast and matching the previous three-month period. Earlier the European Central Bank decided to keep interest rates on hold at one percent, despite growing inflationary fears there.

- The euro punched further gains against the dollar and rose to a new high since November 9 at 1.3969. It was last seen at 1.3943, up more than three quarters of a cent. European equities remained upbeat, rising 1.2-1.3 percent, while US futures were also pointing higher ahead of the New York opening bell.

- Among other precious metals, silver stooped to an intraday low of $34.16 per ounce before recovering to trade at $34.55/34.60, down six cents. Platinum and palladium were indicated at $1,837/1,842 and $816/821 per ounce respectively, down $9 and $2.


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