WASHINGTON (dpa-AFX) - Gold prices drifted lower on Friday as equities moved up on increased risk appetite amid hopes global central banks would step up stimulus to boost growth.
The dollar remained fairly steady for much of the session and this contributed a bit to gold's weakness.
Gold futures for December ended down $7.60, or about 0.5%, at $1,1523.60 an ounce.
On Thursday, gold futures settled up $3.40 at $1,531.20, the highest level in over six years.
For the week, gold futures gained 1%, rising for a third straight week.
Silver futures for September ended down $0.092, or 0.5%, at $17.122 an ounce.
Copper futures for September settled at $2.5950, unchanged from previous close.
In economic news, a report released by the Commerce Department showed an unexpected slump in housing starts in the month of July. The report also showed a much bigger than expected increase in building permits.
The report said housing starts tumbled by 4% to an annual rate of 1.191 million from the revised June estimate of 1.241 million. The drop surprised economists, who had expected housing starts to edge up by 0.3% to a rate of 1.257 million from the 1.253 million originally reported for the previous month.
Meanwhile, the Commerce Department said building permits spiked by 8.4% to a rate of 1.336 million in July from a revised 1.232 million in June.
Building permits had been expected to jump by 4.1% to 1.270 million from the 1.220 million originally reported for the previous month.
Consumer sentiment in the U.S. has seen a significant deterioration in the month of August, according to a preliminary report released by the University of Michigan on Friday.
The report said the consumer sentiment index tumbled to 92.1 in August after inching up to 98.4 in July. Economists had expected the index to dip to 97.2.
With the much steeper than expected drop, the consumer sentiment index slumped to its lowest level since hitting 91.2 in January.
The sharp pullback by the headline index came as the current economic conditions index slid to 107.4 in August from 110.7 in July, hitting its lowest level since late 2016.
The index of consumer expectations showed an even more substantial decrease, plunging to 82.3 in August from 90.5 in July.
The deterioration in consumer sentiment came amid concerns about the proposed increase in tariffs on Chinese imports as well as the reasoning behind the Federal Reserve's interest rate cut.
On the inflation front, the report said one-year inflation expectations inched up to 2.7% in August from 2.6% in July, while five-year inflation expectations ticked up to 2.6% from 2.5%.
The focus now shifts to the Jackson Hole symposium. Fed Chair Powell's comments will be closely watched for fresh hints on the interest rates outlook amid heightened concerns over the potential for a recession and an ongoing U.S.-China trade spat.
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