Gold futures failed an attempt at a third straight gain Thursday, as the latest round of economic data on jobs and inflation offered little to dissuade investors from buying assets perceived as risky over haven gold. December gold lost $1.10, or less than 0.1%, to settle at $1,219.90 an ounce, halting three straight gains. The commodity has mostly traded within a narrow band and is hovering around the lows of the year. It is down about 1.1% for August so far and off about 7% in the year to date. Slightly firmer dollar limited gold’s upside and interest in riskier investment alternatives, as reflected in the stock market’s persistent march to fresh record highs, dulled some short-term attention on the precious metal. As for the data, the overall producer-price index was flat but the measure preferred by economists, known as core PPI, rose 0.3% for the second straight month. Another report showed a drop in jobless benefits applications. With these reports and others largely tracking in line, the Federal Reserve is expected to increase interest rates twice more this year and three times next year. The next policy meeting is in September. (source: marketwatch)