On Thursday, gold (NYSEARCA:GLD) futures for April delivery, the most active contract, decreased $19.60 to settle at $1,662 per ounce, while silver (NYSEARCA:SLV) futures for March dropped 83 cents to close at $31.35.

Both precious metals experienced weakness, despite jobless claims rising more than expected. The Labor Department announced that claims for unemployment benefits in the United States jumped 38,000 in the week ended Jan. 26 to 368,000, the biggest rise since November. Economists were expecting around 350,000 claims.

Ryan Wang, an economist at HSBC Securities, tells Bloomberg, “It looks like the underlying trend in claims is just stable at around 360,000. Today’s increase in claims I think is evidence that the low readings from early January were distorted.”

In the prior two weeks, jobless claims decreased a combined 45,000.

In afternoon trading, the SPDR Gold Trust (NYSEARCA:GLD) fell 0.80 percent, while the iShares Silver Trust (NYSEARCA:SLV) fell 1.75 percent. Gold miners (NYSEARCA:GDX) such as Newmont Mining (NYSE:NEM) and Yamana Gold (NYSE:AUY) dipped 0.10 percent and 0.70 percent, respectively. Silver names such as Silver Wheaton (NYSE:SLW) and First Majestic Silver (NYSE:AG) declined 0.40 percent and 0.70 percent, respectively.

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