Gold futures were little changed on Wednesday, as market players looked ahead to the release of key U.S. data later in the week for further indications on the strength of the economy and the possible future path of monetary policy. On the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange, gold for December delivery inched up 0.05%, or 60 cents, to trade at $1,285.70 a troy ounce during U.S. morning hours. Prices traded in a range between $1,281.10 and $1,288.30 an ounce. A day earlier, gold tacked on 0.49%, or $6.30, to settle at $1,285.20. Futures hit a nine-week low of $1,273.40 on August 21 as market players priced in a greater risk of a sooner-than-expected hike in U.S. interest rates. Prices were likely to find support at $1,273.40, the low from August 21 and resistance at $1,299.30, the high from August 20. The U.S. will produce data on second quarter gross domestic product, as well as reports on pending home sales and initial jobless claims on Thursday. Data released Tuesday showed that U.S. consumer confidence hit its highest level since 2007 in August while durable goods orders posted their biggest gain on record in July. The upbeat data added to optimism over the strength of the economy and fuelled expectations that the Fed will begin to raise rates sooner than previously thought. The U.S. dollar index, which tracks the performance of the greenback versus a basket of six other major currencies, fell 0.17% to hit 82.55, as investors locked in gains from a recent rally. Dollar weakness usually benefits gold, as it boosts the metal’s appeal as an alternative asset and makes dollar-priced commodities cheaper for holders of other currencies. Also on the Comex, silver for December delivery advanced 0.22%, or 4.3 cents, to trade at $19.50 a troy ounce. Elsewhere in metals trading, copper for December delivery shed 0.55%, or 1.8 cents, to trade at $3.195 a pound.