RTTNews - Gold turned modestly higher on Wednesday, boosted by a gain in crude oil prices and a weaker U.S. dollar.

August-stamped gold finished at $944.80, up $5.60 for the session. After hitting as low as $933.30, prices later hit as high as $946.80.

The dollar turned sharply lower against the euro after hitting its highest level of August earlier in the week. The greenback also gave back early gains versus the pound. Gold usually moves opposite the dollar because of its hedge appeal.

Crude oil soared $3.23 to finish at $72.42 per barrel. This marks the best close in more than two months.

The Energy Department said U.S. commercial crude oil inventories decreased by 8.4 million barrels from the previous week. Analysts expected to see a rise of about 1.1 million barrels for the week.

On the economic front, U.S. mortgage applications rose last week as interest rates decreased, increasing the affordability of home purchases and refinancing, according to data released by the Mortgage Bankers Association on Wednesday. the Market Composite Index-which includes both purchase and refinance loans-increased 5.6 percent on a seasonally adjusted basis from the previous week.

The economic news picks up tomorrow. At 8:30 a.m. ET, weekly initial jobless claims are expected to be released. First-time unemployment claims are expected to drop to 553,000, compared to 558,000 a week ago.

Leading indicators data is due at 10 a.m. ET. A rise of 0.6% is expected for July, compared to a 0.7% gain in June.

The Philly Fed index is scheduled for release at the same time. A reading of -2 is forecast, compared to a -7.5 in July.

For comments and feedback: contact editorial@rttnews.com