Gold Extends Advance on Optimism Fed Will Spur Growth

Gold rose the most in two weeks on speculation that the Federal Reserve may increase stimulus measures to bolster the U.S. economy after more Americans than forecast filed applications for unemployment benefits last week.

Jobless claims fell by 1,000 to 388,000 in the week ended April 21, from a revised 389,000 a week earlier, which was the highest since early January, Labor Department figures showed today. The median forecast of 48 economists surveyed by Bloomberg News called for a drop to 375,000. Fed Chairman Ben S. Bernanke said yesterday that the central bank will do more to fuel growth if necessary.

“The job market is softening, and the Federal Reserve may be forced to look at some form of easing,” James Cordier, portfolio manager at in Tampa, Florida, said in a telephone interview. “Investors have started pricing that in.”

Gold futures for June delivery rose 1.1 percent to settle at $1,660.50 an ounce at 1:48 p.m. on the Comex in New York, the biggest gain for a most-active contract since April 12. The precious metal has gained 6 percent this year.

Silver futures for July delivery jumped 2.8 percent to $31.276 an ounce on the Comex, the biggest gain since April 12.

On the New York Mercantile Exchange, palladium futures for June delivery surged 2.7 percent to $672.65 an ounce, the biggest gain since Feb. 21. Platinum futures for July delivery rose 1.5 percent to $1,570.20 an ounce on the Nymex.

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