MTECHTIPS;-Gold firms as French election looms

MTECHTIPS;-Gold firms as French election looms

MTECHTIPS-Gold prices were little changed in North American trading on Thursday, as investors stayed cautious ahead of the first round of the French presidential election over the weekend. Comex gold futures shed $2.40, or around 0.2%, to $1,281.50 a troy ounce by 8:55 AM ET (13:55 GMT). Meanwhile, spot gold held steady at $1,280.00. The yellow metal logging its first loss in six sessions on Wednesday after hitting a one-week low of $1,275.40, as the U.S. dollar recovered from recent losses. Also on the Comex, silver futures held firm at $18.17 a troy ounce, after losing 11.0 cents in the prior session. Gold has been well-supported as market players sought shelter in safe-haven assets ahead of the upcoming French presidential election on Sunday, which remains too close to call. The Harris Interactive opinion poll released earlier showed that 25% of voters intended to vote for centrist Emmanuel Macron in the run-up to Sunday’s first round of voting, ahead of Marine Le Pen, leader of the far-right National Front party on 22%. Republican candidate Francois Fillon was at 19% and left-wing candidate Jean-Luc Chameleon was also at 19%. The poll also showed Macron comfortably beating Le Pen in the second round of voting two weeks later at 66% to 34%. Investors are fearful over the prospect of a second round run-off between euro skeptics Chameleon and Le Pen, who both want to put the country’s European Union membership to a vote

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