Gold prices held steady at eight-month lows in European morning hours on Friday, as the stronger dollar and increased risk-appetite following positive news from Greece weighed heavily on the precious metal.

On the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange, gold futures for August delivery were steady at $1,144.00.

The August contract ended Thursday’s session 0.31% lower at $1,143.90 an ounce.

Futures were likely to find support at $1,140.80, Wednesday’s low and an eight-month low and resistance at $1,154.20, Wednesday’s high.

The dollar strengthened after Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen’s two-day testimony before U.S. Congress left investors believing that interest rates will be raised later this year.

However, speaking to the Senate Banking Committee on Thursday, a day after appearing before the House Financial Services Committee, Yellen again avoided specifying exactly when the Fed is likely to start lifting its benchmark rate from near zero.

© Reuters.  Gold hovers at 8-month lows as risk-appetite strengthens

The greenback was also boosted after the U.S. Department of Labor reported on Thursday that the number of individuals filing for initial jobless benefits in the week ending July 11 fell by 15,000 to 281,000 from the previous week’s total of 296,000.

Analysts had expected initial jobless claims to fall by 10,000 to 285,000 last week.

The U.S. dollar index, which measures the greenback’s strength against a trade-weighted basket of six major currencies, was at 97.65 in early European trading, close to Thursday’s one-and-a-half month peak of 97.92.

Meanwhile, market sentiment improved after euro zone ministers agreed on Thursday to give Greece a €7 billion bridging loan from a European Union-wide fund to keep its finances afloat until a bailout is approved.

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