The price of gold inched lower on Thursday as improving stock markets reduced the need to invest in the precious metal as a hedge. Markets are closed tomorrow for the Gold Friday holiday.

Gold for June delivery fell to $883.30 an ounce, a decline of $2.60 for the day. The metal closed the holiday-shortened week up $14 an ounce.

Strength in the U.S. dollar further softened the metal's hedge appeal. The greenback rallied to a nine-day high versus the euro and also remained above 100 versus the yen.

On the economic front, the U.S. Labor Department announced initial jobless claims fell to 654,000 for the week ended April 4, compared to the previous week's revised level of 674,000. Analysts had expected a figure of 664,000.

Continuing claims rose by 95,000, bringing the total number to another record high of 5.84 million.

The U.S. Commerce Department reported that the trade gap came in at a deficit of $25.97 billion for February. This compared to a revised level of $36.2 billion in the previous month. Economists had been looking for a deficit around $36 billion.

A separate Labor Department report showed that import prices rose 0.5 percent in March following a revised 0.1 percent decrease in February. The increase in import prices marks the first price growth in eight months.

At the same time, the Labor Department said that export prices fell 0.6 percent in March after edging down 0.3 percent in the previous month. With the decrease, export prices fell for the seventh time in the past eight months.

In other commodity trading, crude oil for May settlement soared to $52.17 per barrel, up $2.79 for the session.

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