NEW YORK (MarketWatch) - Gold futures spiked to two-month highs on Thursday while copper futures fell after the U.S. government said ongoing claims for jobless benefits last week climbed to a record high, dampening hopes for an economy recovery.
Copper for July delivery lost 0.07 cents, or 3.2%, to $2.041 a pound. It was down less than 2% before the data. June gold was up 90 cents at $938.30 an ounce.
The Labor Department's count of continuing jobless claims hit a record high, nearing 6.7 million, in the week ending May 9. First-time claims fell by 12,000 to a seasonally adjusted 631,000 in the week ended May 16. Read Economic Report.
Analysts said auto-producing states were hardest hit in the wake of the industry's troubles, with Chrysler and General Motors Corp. /quotes/comstock/13*!gm/quotes/nls/gm (GM 1.61, +0.16, +11.03%) both ramping down business.
"The disruptions in the auto market are clearly having an effect on the labor market and will continue to do so as GM continues its inevitable march towards bankruptcy. As notices go out to Chrysler and GM dealerships, about 2000 between them, a fair amount of fluctuation is going to be seen in the weekly claims figures," Dan Greenhaus, an analyst at Miller Tabak & Co., wrote in an emailed note.

The dollar index /quotes/comstock/11j!i1:dx\y (DXY 81.25, +0.27, +0.33%) , which contrasts the greenback against major currency rivals, fell nearly 0.1% to stand at 81.20. Read Currencies.
One analyst questioned the idea that a falling dollar always translates into higher gold prices. "If the green shoots turn brown and fall off, the dollar could quickly become the safe-haven of choice for those seeking shelter," said Jon Nadler, senior analyst, Kitco Metals Inc