Escalating tensions in eastern Ukraine fueled safe-haven demand for gold on Thursday, offsetting upbeat U.S. data that would have otherwise pushed the precious metal lower.

On the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange, gold futures for December delivery traded at 1,291.20 a troy ounce during U.S. trading, up 0.61%, up from a session low of $1,283.20 and off a high of $1,297.40.

The December contract settled down 0.14% at $1,283.40 on Wednesday.

Futures were likely to find support at $1,273.40 a troy ounce, the low from Aug. 21, and resistance at $1,304.90, the high from Aug. 18.

A top Ukrainian military official was reported as saying earlier that a "full-scale invasion" was taking place in the country, while separate reports that up to 1,000 Russian troops were in Ukraine to assist pro-Russian rebels boosted the price of gold, a popular safe-haven asset class during times of geopolitical uncertainty.

The U.S. has repeatedly said Russia has been meddling in the fighting in eastern Ukraine, a charge Moscow denies.

The U.N., meanwhile, was holding an emergency meeting to address the crisis, which sent investors seeking safe harbor in the precious metal despite upbeat U.S. data, which tends to send gold prices falling by fueling expectations for tighter U.S. monetary policy.

The U.S. gross domestic product grew at a revised annualized rate of 4.2% in the second quarter of this year, according to the Commerce Department, up from a preliminary estimate of 4.0% and better than market forecasts for a downward revision to 3.9%.

The numbers firmed the dollar by cementing expectations that the Federal Reserve will close its bond-buying program around October and hike benchmark interest rates some time in 2015, possibly sooner than once anticipated.

Gold and the dollar tend to trade inversely with one another.

Elsewhere, the U.S. Department of Labor said the number of individuals filing for initial jobless benefits in the week ending Aug. 22 declined by 1,000 to 298,000 from the previous week’s revised total of 299,000.

Analysts were expecting the figure to rise by 1,000 instead of contract by that amount, which gave the greenback added support.

A separate report showed that U.S. pending home sales increased by 3.3% last month, beating expectations for a 0.5% rise. June's figure was revised to a 1.3% drop from a previously estimated decline of 1.1%.

Meanwhile, silver for December delivery was up 0.72% at $19.615 a troy ounce, while copper futures for December delivery were down 1.54% at $3.149 a pound.

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