Factors that affect gold price

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Investing.com — Gold prices remained on the defensive on Thursday as a solid retail sales report in the U.S. and an upbeat regional business survey from the Philadelphia Federal Reserve.

Together with a report from the National Association of Home Builders showing confidence still close to a 20-year high, the data painted a picture of an economy still cruising as election year kicks off. That reduces the chance of further interest rate cuts from the Federal Reserve, which traditionally support gold prices.

By 10:55 AM ET (1555 GMT), gold futures for delivery on the New York COMEX exchange were down 0.2% at $1,550.75 a troy ounce. Spot gold was down by 0.4% at $1,550.45 an ounce.

Figures released by the Commerce Department showed retail sales rose a solid 0.3% in December, in line with forecasts. That dispelled concerns raised by an uncharacteristically disappointing sales update from big box retailer Target (NYSE:TGT) on Wednesday.

Core retail sales rose by an even stronger 0.5%, although the previous month’s reading was revised down a shade.

Later, the Philly Fed’s regional manufacturing index surged to 17.0, its highest level since July and well ahead of forecasts for a reading of 3.8.Liz Ann Sonders, chief investment strategist, said via Twitter that the survey showed a surge in new orders and employment.