U.S. gold futures rose Thursday on follow-through buying after the Federal Reserve said it would keep interest rates near zero, bolstering bullion's status as a hedge against inflation.

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* December gold GCZ9 up $4.40 at $956.90 an ounce at 10:07 a.m. EDT (1407 GMT) on the COMEX division of the New York Mercantile Exchange.

* Ranging from $949.80 to $963.10.

* Gold boosted by economic optimism after the Fed said in its policy statement that economic conditions showed signs of leveling out but would likely to keep interest rates near zero for an extended period.

* Bullion's rally supported by the fact that the Fed would not continue to buy $300 billion worth of Treasury bills - Mihir Dange, COMEX gold floor trader.

* On Wednesday, the U.S. central bank cautiously moved to pull back some of that help for the economy, signaling it would slowly phase out a program to buy $300 billion in longer-term Treasuries by the end of October.

* Gold market sentiment lifted by news that the Swiss National Bank had sold 105 tonnes of gold to private investors for 3 billion francs, completing a planned sale of a total of 250 tonnes of gold.

* South African gold output fell 12.2 percent in volume and total mineral production dropped 7.3 percent in June compared with the same month in the previous year - official data.

* Gold/oil ratio at 13.51, higher than 13.44 from the previous session.

* Spot gold XAU= at $955.05, compared with $946.05 in late New York business on Wednesday.

* London afternoon gold fix XAUFIX= at $953.50 an ounce.


* September silver SIU9 up 31 cents, or 2.1 percent, at $14.895 an ounce, helped by copper and other industrial metals' gains.

* Ranging from $14.505 to $15.145 an ounce.

* Spot silver XAG= was at $14.89 an ounce versus $14.51 an ounce in Wednesday's late quote.

* London silver fix XAGFIX= at $15.070 an ounce.


* October platinum PLV9 up $23.30, or 1.9 percent, at $1,267.70 an ounce on pent-up buying after weakness prompted by easing supply worries.

* Spot platinum XPT= at $1,259 versus $1,238.


* September palladium PAU9 up $3.90, or 1.4 percent, at $277.25 an ounce, tracking platinum's gains.

* Spot palladium XPD= at $274, against its previous finish of $270.