By Ira Iosebashvili

Gold prices fell Thursday as investors locked in gains ahead of key U.S. economic data at the end of the week.

Gold for December delivery closed down 0.4% at $1,303.30 a troy ounce on the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange.

Prices for the precious metal are up more than 3% since mid-October and hit their highest level in a month Wednesday, as narrowing poll numbers drove up political uncertainty in the U.S. ahead of presidential elections next week. Some market participants buy gold during turbulent times, believing it will hold its value better than other assets when markets turn rocky.

Friday's U.S. nonfarm payrolls data are an opportunity for some investors to take profits on the metal's recent rally. A strong number would help bolster the case for the Federal Reserve to raise interest rates in December. Gold struggles to compete with yield-bearing investments when interest rates rise.

"There is a bit of risk cutting before the jobs number tomorrow," said Bob Haberkorn, a broker at RJO Futures.

Prices were also shaky after the Fed on Wednesday pointed to signs that inflation is firming, an indication officials are prepared to raise rates in the weeks ahead, traders said. The central bank left interest rates unchanged, as expected.

December silver fell 1.5% to $18.42 a troy ounce. Platinum for January delivery was down 0.7% at $994.40 a troy ounce. December palladium was off 2.7% at $617.60 a troy ounce.

Write to Ira Iosebashvili at ira.iosebashvili@wsj.com

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

November 03, 2016 15:36 ET (19:36 GMT)

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